The Undying: Pain, vulnerability, mortality, medicine, art, time, dreams, data, exhaustion, cancer, and care by Anne Boyer

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Publication Date: September 17th, 2019
A big thank you to the publishers, the author, and NetGalley for gifting me the e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

 Poetic at times factual at others, The Undying was an emotional read. It is not a book I can say “I enjoyed” but I can say I learned from it, that I experienced growth because of it. It is not an easy book by any means, both because of its subject matter and because of its academic, but still feeling, approach to the topic. We hear about cancer nearly every day and for many of us it has already affected our lives either with our own diagnosis or with the diagnosis of a friend or family member. Anne Boyer equates breast cancer with almost normal womanhood as though one can only claim the fulness of womanhood through the diagnosis of breast cancer even as parts of their womanhood are so often stripped away. I did not expect the intense focus on breast cancer specifically, but it did not detract from the story.

This is a personal and academic look at what breast cancer is and at what it makes us. For survivors, this may be a good book, but for those still struggling it will be a very personal decision if they feel this is a book for them. There are quite a few reviews from the voices of people struggling with breast cancer, some who know they are terminal and for whom The Undying has been a difficult, but in some cases necessary, addition to their lives. The choice, as always, is up to the reader.

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