Related to This Book

Memoir of a Debulked Woman

Enduring Ovarian Cancer

Susan Gubar (Author, Indiana University)

Overview | Formats

A 2012 New York Times Book Review Notable Book

"Staggering, searing…Ms. Gubar deserves the highest admiration for her bravery and honesty." —New York Times

Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008, Susan Gubar underwent radical debulking surgery, an attempt to excise the cancer by removing part or all of many organs in the lower abdomen. Her memoir mines the deepest levels of anguish and devotion as she struggles to come to terms with her body’s betrayal and the frightful protocols of contemporary medicine. She finds solace in the abiding love of her husband, children, and friends while she searches for understanding in works of literature, visual art, and the testimonies of others who suffer with various forms of cancer.

Ovarian cancer remains an incurable disease for most of those diagnosed, even those lucky enough to find caring and skilled physicians. Memoir of a Debulked Woman is both a polemic against the ineffectual and injurious medical responses to which thousands of women are subjected and a meditation on the gifts of companionship, art, and literature that sustain people in need.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • June 2013
  • ISBN 978-0-393-34589-6
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 320 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverMemoir of a Debulked Woman: Enduring Ovarian Cancer



Endorsements & Reviews

“Delivered in a voice that is intelligent, feminist and devastatingly honest…Unlike many accounts of life with cancer, it is neither relentlessly upbeat nor melodramatic. Instead, it is straightforward, realistic and incredibly brave.” — New York Times Book Review

“Brave, honest…intimate, unsentimental, and darkly funny.” — Boston Globe

“Despite her suffering, [Gubar] infuses her book with profound gratitude for family, friends, and colleagues.” — The New Yorker

“A clear-eyed and exquisitely written look at the decisions and compromises people make for a little more time on earth.” — Wall Street Journal

“Starred review. This raw narrative is as close to therapy and is written as close to the bone as one is likely to find among cancer memoirs. Even so, there is a certain beauty that only someone of Gubar’s prodigious abilities can impart to such a painful experience.” — Booklist

“An extraordinary testament to the human spirit—at least, to Susan Gubar’s indomitable spirit—a rare mixture of honesty, eloquence, humor, and passionate curiosity about the truth, as it pertains to her condition as an ovarian cancer patient who is both poised to fight her cancer and, when it's time, to accept her mortality.” — Joyce Carol Oates

“Not just a grueling memoir of facing a deadly disease but a powerful exposé of the failure of medical science to find better ways to detect and treat it.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Gubar’s passionate and brave polemic is critical reading for anyone concerned with the state of women’s health care in America.” — Publishers Weekly

Also by Susan Gubar All

  1. Book CoverLate-Life Love: A Memoir


  2. Book CoverMother Songs: Poems For, By, and About Mothers


  3. Book CoverMotherSongs: Poems for, by, and about Mothers


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