Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Healing With Words by Diana Raab

Healing With Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey by Diana Raab is more than a memoir about one woman’s experience with breast cancer.  Merging short memoir chapters with poetry inspired by her experiences, Raab takes her story one step further by adding journaling prompts with blank pages so that the reader can fully interact and engage not only with Raab’s experience but their own.  Not only does Raab share her intimate experience with breast cancer but she allows the reader space to breathe into their own writing.

There are some printing problems which suggest poor editing on the publisher’s part.  I found this hugely disappointing because Raab’s experience deserves better than a poorly produced book.  However, I would recommend this book without hesitation to any woman who has experienced breast cancer whether recently diagnosed or fully recovered.  Although I have not had breast cancer myself, I have found lumps in my body (twice in my breast and thrice elsewhere) so I was able to respond fully to the prompts that precede the diagnosis of a positive test result.

How grateful I continue to be for my negative test results I cannot emphasize enough!

I am just overwhelmed with how beautifully Raab combines these various forms of sharing–her own memories first in prose form and then condensed into poetry alongside journaling prompts.  The book includes a list of resources for those people who are living with breast cancer as well as a bibliography.  Raab’s belief that writing helped heal her is so perfectly manifested on the pages of this book that readers will inevitably learn to trust their own voice on the page, through Raab’s book initially but then beyond, one would imagine, in their own journals.  Hopefully, future print runs will correct the weird mistakes that are sprinkled throughout the text.

I want to also note that all of the author’s proceeds are donated to the Mayo Clinic.  She also has a blog to which you can subscribe.

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