Friday, March 4, 2016

REVIEW: FU Cancer by Hilaria Alexander


Shel: I remember promoting this novel when it was released and being so curious about it; at the time we were slammed with reviews and couldn't fit it into our reading schedule. I recently found it on Net Galley and excitedly requested it and then made it my next read. I picked it up one Thursday afternoon and by the following Friday evening I was finished with it. The voice of the main character, Lucy, hit all the right spots for me--her irreverence, her good humor, and her unflinching look at all of the ugly parts of living with cancer made cringe and laugh and think really hard about the people I've known in similar situations. I love when a book challenges me or makes me consider things in a way that I really haven't before, and that's what FU Cancer did for me: how many times have I not been the friend or neighbor I could've been when given the opportunity to support someone living with a significant illness? Could I be as supportive as Brandon or Beverly? Would I ever say something so unthinking or careless as some of the characters? Do I treat cancer patients like their contagious? I hope I could be reliable and considerate if given the opportunity and I hope that if I had a cancer diagnosis that I'd handle it with the ferocity and sass and humor and grace that Lucy did. 

Court: Yes and a thousand times yes. This one was difficult for me. My mother had a double mastectomy for breast cancer in 2012, and last year my father had kidney cancer and did not survive it. So, for obvious reasons I have a love/hate and very masochistic feeling toward books of this sort. This one really hit the nail on the head of all of the struggles that people go through when they're diagnosed. It captured the fear, and the hope...and the anger, and the love that comes with your family circling the wagons for you. Lucy is a fierce woman, and I think her battle with the cancer and just to not lose herself was strong. I struggled in the middle as we're going through the treatment with her as critically in the book the plot slowed down after a really strong start. But, the story is so relatable and really has strong characters so I was crying and hanging on right along with them.

Shel: While Lucy's diagnosis and subsequent treatment of breast cancer is the focus of the plot, I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about how much fun it was to watch her fall in love with Brandon (this dreamboat, sweetheart of a man). Her skepticism that he could actually like her, her nervous butterflies, and her eventual capitulation were written so perfectly--lots of humor and incredulity and nerves that seemed so true to who Lucy was to me. And I loved that we got a few opportunities to read from Brandon's POV too--his initial crush and then his absolute inability to stop himself from falling for her were just so endearing. I loved these two together. Court: That is true. I loved Lucy and Brandon together, and as individual characters. They are feel good. They are funny, and I really liked Brandon's POV scenes too. He seems like such a genuine guy. I liked that he is a doctor and the perils that they face with the idea of it being unethical. Dr. Rouse is fierce also. I loved Lucy's mother. Great characters!

Shel: I feel like there's so much more to this novel than what I've focused on--her divorce and her family, his secrets, the ending...THE ENDING!!! But you know what? Maybe those things are better left for you to discover. Hilaria Alexander was a new author to us and I am 100% going to be reading all of her other titles as soon as I can. Court: HIS SECRETS! The But, was great. We have promoted Hilaria a lot and were excited to finally get a chance to read one of her novels. Worth it! Check it out!


Want to know more? Read below:

Lucy has always been a good girl. The most hardcore thing she's done in her life was falling for a divorced man ten years her senior. 
But he was the love of her life and she married him. When her Peter Pan of a husband decided to divorce her, she thought it was her chance to start anew. That was until she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Besides looking like Britney circa 2007, she is taking it well, real well. You might see her walk around the hospital during chemo sessions with bright colored wigs and outrageous t-shirts that seem to shock the most conservative employees. One of them reads FU CANCER.

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