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Say 'Aaah' | Media Mix

SPEAK THE LANGUAGE OF HEALING Living With Breast Cancer Without Going to War By Susan Kuner, Carol Matzkin Orsborn, Linda Quigley, Karen Leigh Stroup; Dove Audio; abridged nonfiction; four cassettes (six hours); $25; read by Gabrielle de Cuir, Judith Cummings, Tracy Brooks Swope, Shauna Zurbrugg; available in bookstores or by calling (800) 368-3007.

May 01, 2000|ROCHELLE O'GORMAN

Four women, all with breast cancer, decided to tell their stories with unmasked candor. Instead of relying on such masculine terminology as the "battle for survival" and "the war" against cancer, they couched their disease and recovery in the feminine world.

These women speak of releasing anger and control and of embracing humility. They talk of their individual approaches: Christian, 12-Step, Jewish and Sufi. They used what they found comforting, from traditional medicine and prayer to more alternative therapies.

Those with cancer or those with cancer patients in their lives would benefit from their sensible advice. One woman tells how friends forced diet regimens and herbs on her. Another talks of people who look for blame, needing to find a cause in lifestyle or emotional makeup for the cancer. The women offer concrete examples of what not to say to a cancer patient and of what a patient needs, from kind words to banana bread.

Though subtitled "A New Approach to Breast Cancer," this audio book would be a unique and helpful guide through many adversities. A person could substitute nearly any dilemma in his or her life and still find comfort and guidance. The printed version is a workbook, a format some people may find more helpful. Considering the serious subject matter of this production, however, this is an easy listen. Each woman has her own distinct voice. The stories may be sad, but they are told without pity or bathos.

A problem is that not one of the four narrators is defined. A different woman reads for each contributor, but we never know who is reading. Although they share the same level of professionalism, it is sometimes difficult to remember who is the minister and who is the recovered alcoholic. An introduction at the beginning of the recording and more detailed notes on the box would have been most helpful.

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