Because I am so busy getting Rae’s Reads (my bookstore) ready to open, I am only having brief periods of time several times a day to read. This does not lend itself to reading novels, so I picked up a collection of short essays by Alice Hoffman at my local library. It is a small book, but it is full of poignant, warm essays. It is Hoffman’s journey through breast cancer to survivorship. Having made this journey myself 23 years ago, the volume spoke to me.
This collection contains a guide for surviving breast cancer.
Published in 2013, Alice Hoffman, “one of America’s most beloved writers,” addresses an issue that affects millions of women. It is “gentle, but wry”; it helps us “[find] beauty in the world even during the toughest times.” Each essay helps us …”choose what matters most,” and deals with” Choosing your Heroes,” through “Choose love,” to the concluding essay, “Choose the Evidence.” Compiled, the essays give us “ways to re-envision everything–from relationships with friends and family to the way you see your self.” One of the most helpful essays was “Choose to Plan for the Future.” In it, Hoffman instructs us to “Write your troubles on a slip of paper and burn it. Now make a list of what you need to do next year in your life.” This is good advice for anyone who is not sure she/he is going to have a next year. It assumes they will be a survivor.