Monday, July 13, 2009

Perseverance: My Review

"You have Cancer". Those are words that no one wants to hear, much less a high school or college student. While puking your guts out to most folks that age means too much beer the night before, for cancer patients, it is a common side-effect of chemotherapy. While peers are having needles applied for tattooing and piercings, cancer patients are undergoing biopsies, spinal taps and IV drugs. Cancer isn't easy on anyone but when it hits a high school or college-aged student, the freedom of youth is also lost.

Perseverance is a collection of stories of high school and college aged cancer patients. The book's author, Carolyn Rubenstein first learned about childhood cancer victims when she was six and visited a camp for cancer patients with her parents. When she was older she started interviewing teenage cancer survivors and then decided to put together a book. Each of twenty young people tells his/her story; Carolyn added an introduction and conclusion to each section. As you would expect, reading these young adults' stories makes you thankful you aren't in their shows and admiring of their courage. Also, as I guess could be expected, some of these folks are better writers than others. Some get a bit afield of what, to me, is the point of the book. Also, honestly, I think this is one of those cases where less might have been more. While I realize each person's struggle with cancer is unique in its own way, and certainly wasn't a routine part of any one's life, basically the stories started to sound very much alike by the end of the book. There was shock on diagnosis, nausea with chemo, hair falling out, and feeling worse than ever before in their lives. I got tired of reading the book about halfway through.

The book concludes with a list of organizations that help cancer victims and a glossary that defines many of the terms used in the book.

If someone you know is diagnosed with cancer and wants to know that 1) there is hope and 2) S/he isn't the first one to go through this, I recommend this book.


  1. Sounds like a great resource if you know someone or are going through cancer. I didn't know about this book, so I appreciate the new knowledge. Thanks for reviewing it!

  2. Dale Green11:54 AM

    Thanks for posting this review!

    It also seems like a great book for the general population if you are seeking inspiration!

    Thanks for passing it along

  3. I am an oncology nurse and work with adult patients, may of whom are young. One of my patients pointed me towards a website that may also be helpful to young cancer patients:

    Also, I jmust wanted to point out - for the most part, we hear from people who are suffering from the worst effects of cancer therapy, or who haven't responded to treatment. What we don't realize is that many of the people we see on the street each day are cancer survivors. There's nothing to distinguish us from "healthy people". I never hesitate to tell my patients that I'm a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed and treated 36 years ago and am cancer free.

  4. This is a book that I really want to read.

    Thank you for the interesting review.


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