The following are two reviews (sort of) that didn’t warrant a post of their own. Unfortunately this post is a bit of a downer, but I also didn’t want to pass them off and not post about them, if that makes any sense lol.
Love in a Cold Climate
By: Nancy Mitford
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
Polly Hampton has long been groomed for the perfect marriage by her mother, the fearsome and ambitious Lady Montdore. But Polly, with her stunning good looks and impeccable connections, is bored by the monotony of her glittering debut season in London. Having just come from India, where her father served as Viceroy, she claims to have hoped that society in a colder climate would be less obsessed with love affairs. The apparently aloof and indifferent Polly has a long-held secret, however, one that leads to the shattering of her mother’s dreams and her own disinheritance. When an elderly duke begins pursuing the disgraced Polly and a callow potential heir curries favor with her parents, nothing goes as expected, but in the end all find happiness in their own unconventional ways.
This book has long been on my wishlist so it was nice to finally pick up the book and read it. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, which might be a culmination of having started it before going on vacation and then picking up and finishing it when I got back. But maybe it was my mood too as before I left I wasn’t terribly invested in the story already. There were some witty dialogue here and there, but otherwise I was just bored by the story, a lot of it was hearsay (heh, isn’t life a lot about stories we hear from other people?) which I guess it also part of the society that Polly and Fanny live in. So yeha, it should’ve been a story that should’ve interested me a lot more, and there’s a lot going on in their story, but yeah, in the end I just didn’t really care for it 🙁
Holding on to Normal
By: Alana Somerville
Format/Source: ARC courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA
A compelling memoir about trying to live meaningfully with illness and triumph beyond it, by breast cancer survivor Alana Somerville, a teacher and mother of two young children.
I looked at all the sick people around me. Was I going to be like them? Was that already me? Did I suddenly have a time stamp on my life? Would I make it out of this alive?
Alana Somerville—wife, teacher and mother of two small children—was thirty-three years old when she was diagnosed with stage-two, triple-negative breast cancer. The diagnosis changed her world and the relationships she had with everyone around her. Suddenly she was faced with endless medical appointments, multiple surgeries and procedures, the challenges of chemotherapy, and all the decisions involved in her treatment. She also had to deal with the trauma of realizing that her support network—sometimes even her closest friends—could struggle with how to help or even how to react to her anymore.
Throughout the course of her illness, Alana learned to maneuver through the medical system, to advocate for herself, and to build a truly supportive network. She also discovered how to keep her positive spirit intact while undergoing a double mastectomy and ongoing treatment. She is now living cancer-free—a survivor and an advocate.
Alana’s story is not unique. It’s a story that will resonate with anyone who has suffered illness and found themselves navigating a whole new world upon diagnosis. This is an “everywoman’s” journey through the experience of cancer, tracing the emotional, physical and psychological steps that are common to all. In the end, this memoir will offer hope that one can live a healthy, fulfilling and happy life beyond diagnosis. Holding on to Normal is for anyone who is suffering—or knows someone who is suffering from—a setback in life, and who is looking for inspiration on how to navigate their own journey.
I tried to start this book a few times since receiving it from Simon & Schuster CA (unsolicited, but anyway, I give unsolicited books a chance should they pop up in my mailbox) but I just could not. It’s not to say this book is not worth checking out or whatever, it’s just that given my job in healthcare and working with patients who are living with a cancer diagnosis (though they shouldn’t be at my hospital as my hospital is a rehab/continuing care facility) and moreso patients having had a history of cancer, it’s just not something I’d read about on my spare time. I might go back to it at some point but for not I’m nowhere inclined to read it.