“The Undying” by Anne Boyer
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Equal parts prose, research, and memoir, Anne Boyer’s poignant examination of her experience in treatment for highly aggressive triple-negative breast cancer is powerfully rendered. Referencing literary figures who wrote of their illnesses like Susan Sontag and Kathy Acker, Boyer’s document of the isolation and unavoidable pain of a cancer diagnosis is refreshingly honest.
Her story, almost an ode to pain, speaks of the toxic drugs coursing through her system, the loneliness of losing friends, the difficulty in relating to others when navigating cancer and its treatment, the American health care system that prefers making money to saving lives, and the unrelenting rage that results from it all. In sparkling prose, Boyer’s poetic inclinations shine through: “I am like a baby being born into the hands of a body made only of the grand debt of love and rage, and if I live another forty-one years to avenge what has happened it still won’t be enough.”
“Cancer-Free with Food” by Liana Werner-Gray
Hay House Inc.
Featuring 195 recipes created to promote healing, “Cancer-Free with Food” is a step-by-step guide for what to eat in the wake of a cancer diagnosis. Plus, each recipe can be tailored to accommodate gluten-free, keto, vegan, and paleo diets. Werner-Grey’s mission is personal—she lost both her grandparents to cancer, and her mother is a breast cancer survivor. She grew up in Alice Springs, Australia—a city with a large indigenous population whose diet consists of mostly veggies and very little, if any, processed foods. “They taught me that food is medicine,” Werner-Gray writes.
“Radical” by Kate Pickert
Little, Brown Spark
If more money is spent fighting breast cancer than any other cancer, why does it continue to kill 40,000 women each year? As a health care journalist, Pickert was familiar with how cancer patients navigate the health care industry. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer herself, her reporting became personal. Through interviews with doctors, scientists, economists, advocates, and patients, “Radical” offers a history of breast cancer treatment—charting the progress and defeats—and shares an update on its research and treatment as it stands today.