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Tuesday 27 November 2012

The C Card and Me by Ali Gilmore

Whether we like it or not, cancer affects one in three people at some stage in their lives. So, you’re in a queue at the Post Office or in the supermarket; the person in front of you, or the person behind you, or…you…will be the target of that deadliest of enemies. Ergo, out of the world’s seven billion people (and growing), an estimated 2.3 billion will be affected. Quite sobering, isn’t it? So, it’s not surprising that one or two have put pen to paper (or finger to key) to relate the experiences of how they have coped/are coping with the disease, or how they have helped others manage the disease, or how they have been affected by someone else near and very dear to them who suffered or are suffering from cancer. Quite a lot more than one or two, actually, judging by the number of books that turn up if you put ‘cancer’ into Amazon’s search. However, one thing you can be absolutely sure of is that each person who writes a book on the subject has a unique approach to the subject. 

The C Card and Me is not just another book about cancer: it’s a very down-to-earth, no-punches-pulled, witty, funny (yes, funny), how-to-cope ‘guide’...with all the ghastliness of everything that comes with the gruelling regime of chemotherapy. 

I always have trouble with books like this: how can I say I enjoyed it? Poor Ali was going to hell and back in varying degrees of yukkiness of stage IV cancer. So I need to make it clear that what I enjoyed was learning about this lady’s character: she’s a no-nonsense, balanced, intelligent, well-adjusted, articulate, and multi-talented person with a tremendous amount of sense of humour, and you can’t help feeling you’d love to meet her. She was the one out of three who pulled the short straw, but she’s a shining example of that overused cliché: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. 

This wasn’t just a book on how to cope with cancer: it was about a person with a huge personality who wasn’t to be beaten. It was inspirational. 

This was a very well-written account by a very couragious don't-mess-with-me, cancer! lady, who really ought to write a novel.  I sincerely hope that it will be something she adds to her already admirable talents as a photographer, singer/songwriter and musician.

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