Eve Ensler, playwright and activist
"How to be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick gives us excellent tools and moving experiences to love and nurture the sick and dying. It urges and enables us to move towards those in need rather than fleeing in terror or despair. It is a handbook of kindness and care and will help patients and healers, which is ultimately all of us."
Harold Varmus, Nobel Laureate in Medicine "After examining a potentially difficult and nearly universal experiencedealing with a friend's illness from many points of view, Letty Pogrebin has turned her findings into wise and witty lessons about a prized but neglected human trait: empathy. In advising us on what to do and say, she also shows why she's the kind of friend we all would want to have if we were sick.”
Bruce Feiler, best-selling author of THE COUNCIL OF DADS and THE SECRETS OF HAPPY FAMILIES
“As she has throughout her writing career, Letty Pogrebin has once again hit on a topic that everyone whispers and wonders about but is loath to discuss out loud. HOW TO BE A FRIEND TO A FRIEND WHO'S SICK is taboo-busting, groundbreaking, and had me fist-pumping with glee. Take this brave, much-needed book along to your next family gathering or visit with a friend. I guarantee that the conversations it will evoke will be life-changing.”
"A cancer survivor channels her ordeal into reflections on the nature of empathy and friendships
. The author's sharp advice illuminates many of the more common gray areas governing what to say to an ailing friend, appropriate visitation frequencies and durations, and proper gifting. She also provides tips for good behavior when a friend's parent or child is gravely ill
. A useful refresher course on navigating the complicated territory of compassionate companionship.”
“Pogrebin, a veteran feminist, author, and cofounder (with Gloria Steinem) of Ms. magazine, uses her experience with breast cancer
and nearly 80 interviews with friends and patients to craft this bluntly practical and gently humorous guide to the dos and don'ts of caring for the ill
.It's the bravery and wisdom Pogrebin brought to her own battle that lifts this guide from a mere list of sickroom rule to the invaluable lessons for sickness and health.”
Wall Street Journal
“[A] kind of communication chasm, the one between the ill and those who care about them, is addressed with sympathy and humor in Letty Cottin Pogrebin's How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick, a guide to what might be called "compassion etiquette.”
A cancer survivor channels her ordeal into reflections on the nature of empathy and friendships. Ms. magazine founding editor Pogrebin (Three Daughters, 2002, etc.) offers sound counsel to those comforting ailing friends. In 2009, a routine mammogram revealed a suspicious mass that not only changed the author's relationship to her body, but also the interactions with her friends, some of whom were hesitant to visit. Pogrebin's text serves her well as both an informative guide and an autobiographical chronicle. Evenly distributed throughout are personal interludes from her battle with breast cancer combined with helpful sections guiding those who are conflicted "when your role in the relationship is no longer easy or obvious." For many, she writes, worry for a friend's sudden or prolonged illness can be an intimidating, touchy subject, and communicating genuine concern could understandably be met with either graciousness or an irritable "Thank you for caring. Now leave me alone." The author's sharp advice illuminates many of the more common gray areas governing what to say to an ailing friend, appropriate visitation frequencies and durations, and proper gifting. She also provides tips for good behavior when a friend's parent or child is gravely ill. Much of this valuable "illness etiquette" comes from personal experience (Pogrebin's mother died of cancer) and from survival stories told to her by fellow patients. Illness, she writes, will often prove a friendship's mettle, and those who get it right will temper the unavoidable shame and embarrassment that often accompany serious health issues. A useful refresher course on navigating the complicated territory of compassionate companionship.