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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

    Hardcover

Awards

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

“In this brave, honest book, Gubar grapples with the reality and symbolism of cancer. …[H]er tone is intimate, unsentimental, and darkly funny. . . . Intimate, unsentimental, and darkly funny . . . a moving reminder of ‘how greedy for existence we are.’” — Boston Globe

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

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

“Starred review. True to her no-nonsense feminist roots, Gubar pulls no punches.... 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.... The ‘voice’ is so utterly intimate, the reader will find herself, or himself, drawn into sharing the author’s deepest thoughts, fears, and wishes. The memoir is a treasure-chest of wonderful, uncommon cultural allusions and lines of poetry; the reader feels honored to be in the presence of a first-rate, restless mind, being taken to a place of devastating clarity. There is pathos here, but not self-pity; amid the tragic and sorrowful, sudden flashes of wit.” — 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

    Hardcover

  2. Book CoverMotherSongs: Poems For, By, and About Mothers

    Hardcover

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

    Hardcover

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