October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month across the world. Unfortunately, it’s a disease quite a lot of us are personally familiar with – my own family included. For some people, reading about people going through the same struggles and joys as they are, can make their own experiences a little easier to deal with.
There are quite a lot of books, both fiction and non fiction, that feature cancer. Not just breast cancer, but many of the other forms we’ve all come to know and recognise. This list is, of course, not exhaustive. If there’s one you’ve read I missed out on, let me know in the comments. There are a couple of books I’ve read also featuring cancer, but as it’s not disclosed before you start reading I’ve left them out. Spoilers suck, yo.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This is probably one of the most well known examples. It’s a YA institution, and it really is a marmite book. I’ve seen as many people rant about it, as I have rave. TFIOS, as it’s come to be known, tells the story of Hazel, who is suffering from lung cancer. In her youth support group she meets Issac, who has gone blind as a result of the cancer in his eye, and Augustus, who has lost a leg to osteosarcoma but is now in remission. Hazel and Gus grow closer during her time in the group, and she introduces him to one of her favourite books. Haven’t we said so many times that books are a great bonding method?
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
This is another famed book with a cancer patient, not least for the uproar about the ending of the film adaptation. Anna, a 13 year old, sues her family for medical emancipation when she discovers she the reason she was conceived, and a lot of her life’s purpose, is to save her sister Kate, who is dying of leukaemia. It’s a book filled with emotion, and it will most definitely tug at the heart strings.
The C Word by Lisa Lynch
Unlike the other two books on this list, Lisa’s book is non fiction. Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 28, and her book is a humerous and poignant account of her diagnosis with The Bullshit, her treatment, and how her family rallied around her. If you have someone in your family who’s been diagnosed with cancer, this book will help you even a little to understand what they’re going through.
The Good Mother by Sinéad Moriarty
Every mother’s worst nightmare is their child getting sick. This nightmare comes to life for Kate, whose middle child Jess has been diagnosed with with cancer. You don’t have to be a parent yourself to feel the turmoil and emotion Kate is going through. This book doesn’t just focus on Jess, but also how her diagnosis affects everyone in her family, her mother’s best friend, and her own best friend. This is definitely one you will need tissues for.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Conor’s has been sent to live with his grandmother while his mother receives pallative care. Each night, a terrifying monster comes to visit with a story to pass on. On the fourth night, the monster comes for the truth Conor has been hiding all this time. I watched the film adaptation of this on a flight back from the States and woke the people around me, I was sobbing so hard. Prepare yourself for one of the most heart breaking boks you will read in a long time.
The Memory Box by Sarah Webb
This book is the second of a series, but you can definitely read it as a stand alone – I did. Pandora is turning 30 and is about to be tested for the BRAC gene. She’s desperate for the father of her nine year old Iris to be more involved in his daughter’s life, sparking a trip to Paris to drop a bombshell on him. She even puts together a lovely memory box for Iris, so Iris never forgets her father. There’s a lovely subplot involving a group of women who time swap fabulous dresses as they need them for events, and it’s so heart warming to read.
What books that deal with cancer have you read?