Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A Memoir in Comics

Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A Memoir in Comics

by Miriam Engelberg


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a cartoonist examines her experience with breast cancer in an irreverent and humorous graphic memoir.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060789732
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/25/2006
Edition description: 1ST
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.32(d)

About the Author

Miriam Engelberg was forty-three when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Like anyone faced with a life-altering personal trauma, she sought out a coping mechanism. While fellow patients championed the benefits of support groups and hypnotherapy, Engelberg found her greatest comfort in drawing, her lifelong passion.

Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person puts Engelberg's life in focus the best way she knows how — with cartoons. Her graphic approach to a very serious subject follows in the tradition of Art Spiegelman's award-winning Maus, but in her own offbeat, on-target, and darkly, devastatingly humorous style. From sex and wigs to nausea and causes — Was it overzealous cheese consumption or not enough multivitamins? — Engelberg leaves no aspect of cancer unexamined. In this remarkable "memoir in comics," she takes a clear-eyed, deliciously sardonic look at caring friends and relatives, doctors, treatments, and support groups while never losing her guarded optimism and, most important, her sense of humor.

What People are Saying About This

Harriet Lerner

“So funny, so sad, so daring, so honest, and so utterly human that I couldn’t put it down.”

Customer Reviews

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Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A Memoir in Comics 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Wayward-Professor More than 1 year ago
If you or a loved one must deal with breast cancer, this is a guaranteed stress reliever. Clearly written by one who has "been there", this collection of cartoon panels will help you realize you are not alone in dealing with the impact of having breast cancer and all it entails. Engelberg lightens the load of dealing with receiving the shocking news, having surgery, sharing information with friends, and even dealing with the effects of chemotherapy. Her reaction to dealing with all the trials partly becomes yours. In a sense, she anticipates what you fear and makes light of it in a way that helps you deal with it. Great reading for the husband who tries to understand how his wife must feel while at the same time feeling helpless in helping her deal with it. Together, husband and wife will laugh as they share in an ordeal that rarely causes laughter. Miriam Engelberg succeeds in putting cancer in its place.
SqueakyChu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book came to me in an odd way. I was at a holiday party in which wrapped books were being distributed with only their first lines read as a hint to the contents of the package. The opening lines of Engelberg's book said three things: ¿There's something very personal about telling people you've had breast cancer¿, ¿I'm a breast cancer survivor¿, and ¿Don't look at her chest¿. Because I'm a breast cancer survivor and I saw the horrified looks in the eyes of other party-goers, I requested the book.This book is a graphic novel. The cartoons drawn by Engelberg may be a bit rough as far as its art form, but these drawings in no way detract from the author¿s ability to express herself. Her black humor is particularly laugh-out-loud funny to people who have experienced the stressful upheaval that breast cancer treatment entails. This book would make the most sense and be most appreciated for another person after the trauma of diagnosis, surgery, radiation, and chemo have taken place. Only then are readers as breast cancer survivors able to nod along with the sad truths Engelberg conveys. It seemed to me that the author explored just about every nook and cranny of a breast cancer patient¿s feelings. I especially identified with Engelberg¿s making fun of studies which refute studies which in turn refute other studies.Ultimately, though, I found this book frightening. While reading it, I learned that the author died of brain metastasis on October 17, 2006. What breast cancer survivors want more than anything is simply to survive. Short of that, the ability to let go of the horror of this disease for a short while and the opportunity to laugh about it still make Engelberg¿s book a gift for so many.
biblyotekerin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Honest, humorous description of dealing with breast cancer told in comic book form.
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've never had cancer and I've never known anyone well who has had cancer, but, just as a regular person, I found this book genuine, funny, sad, clever, dark, and (contrary to the title) a little deep. Engelberg tells the story of her sudden immersion into the world of the cancer victim and the cancer survivor with painful honesty. It is, despite the awfulness of the cancer, a funny story, too. It's the truthfulness I liked best about it, pulling away all the made-for-tv-movie sweetness that seems to often appear when people talk about having cancer.
jennyo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a memoir in comic book form written and drawn by a woman with breast cancer. I thought it was okay, but honestly, the genre is just not one that I enjoy.I did like the fact that Engelberg seemed so normal, and that her reactions to the diagnosis and treatment and all that goes along with it weren't meant to be uplifting or inspiring or anything. They were just regular person reactions, things I could understand, things I might have done or said or thought.So, if you're a fan of the genre, or if you have someone who's undergoing treatment, or both, I think you might find this book helpful. Not inspirational, but helpful and realistic.
heidialice on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Engelberg gives vignettes of her experiences with breast cancer told in comic strip style form.This book has the sort of dark gallows humor that I can¿t resist, and I appreciate the authenticity of her sharing. I was reminded of Grace and Grit many times, though Miriam takes an approach opposite to Treya¿s (shallower vs. deeper).
PNovotny More than 1 year ago
Having been recently diagnosed with cancer, I was in a state of devastation and shock and was reading every book I could get on the subject. How do people get through it? This was the only book that truly gave me solace. It was hysterically funny - illustrating the outrageous indignities engendered by a cancer diagnosis - the inappropriate comments made by well meaning acquaintances and health care providers, the black humor of embarassing tests and procedures, etc. If Miriam Engelberg can draw cartoons that so aptly depict our flawed human nature, and can laugh at life's most challenging moments, then the rest of us can at least gain some perspective. Not everyone will enjoy this type of humor. But I found it comforting.