It’s mid October, so you may have noticed an increase in the colour pink in your life by now. The charity fun-runs are in full swing, Facebook profile pictures are being jazzed up with variations of pink ribbon graphics, and you may have passed a few more people than usual on the street asking for donations. Yep, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
While it’s a tough topic to read, breast cancer — and cancer in general — is an important one. One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and breast cancer is the most common type. So, between your fundraising and annual check ups, why not crack open a book or two written or inspired by the brave people who have experienced cancer. Here are some of our top picks to get you going:
Based on Laura Pearson’s experience of being diagnosed with breast cancer while five months pregnant, I Wanted You To Know follows the story of Jess, a new mum, newly diagnosed with cancer, facing the possibility of her daughter growing up without her. Packed with heartbreaking letters, an honest portrayal of cancer, and inspiring moments of friendship and family, IWYTK focuses on the humanity behind the horrible diagnosis. It’ll make you squeeze the people you love a little tighter and leave you with a renewed sense of life. And, in honour of the two women a day who will be diagnosed with cancer while pregnant, a portion of proceeds from the eBook will be donated to the charity Mummy’s Star.
If I Wanted You To Know is an in-depth look at how cancer affects a mother, A Monster Calls is a look into how it affects a child. Thirteen-year-old Conor is struggling to cope with his mother’s illness, resulting in him being visited in the middle of the night by a story-telling monster. Shaped from a yew tree outside his window, the Monster tells Conor three stories. As each is told, the reader is aware that Conor’s mother is getting worse, culminating in one final tale: the one Conor must share with the Monster. A Monster Calls, though a young adult novel, expertly navigates the reality of illness through the guise of fantasy. Although the novel was written by Patrick Ness, the original idea came from Siobhan Dowd, who died of breast cancer before she could write it.
Naturally, the most appropriate of stories to read for Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a memoir from someone who’s lived it. Cancer Vixen is the account of Marisa Acocella Marchetto’s diagnosis, treatment and survival of breast cancer. Starting with her pre-diagnosis days of being a young, fun professional in New York City with a high-octane, fashionable lifestyle, and coming out the other end of her horrible news, Marchetto dives into the nitty gritty of survival and shows how cancer changes everything. It’s the perfect book for someone who’s in the middle of treatment, or those watching someone close to them navigate cancer — it’s raw, honest, and packed with humour.
As always, thank you for reading, and be sure to tweet us @AgoraBooksLDN with your must-reads for Breast Cancer Awareness Month!