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Official Review: Resurrection Lily by Amy Byer Shainman

Posted: 07 Mar 2019, 11:08
by Cecilia_L
[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Resurrection Lily" by Amy Byer Shainman.]
Book Cover
4 out of 4 stars
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In 2013, actress Angelina Jolie's editorial, "My Medical Choice," was featured in the New York Times. Jolie disclosed the shocking news that after testing positive for BRCA1, she opted to have a prophylactic mastectomy. Subsequently, Jolie also had her ovaries removed. "By sharing that she had her ovaries, fallopian tubes, and breasts removed, Angelina Jolie has had an impact on women on so many levels, forcing us to redefine womanhood and beauty." In Resurrection Lily: The BRCA Gene, Hereditary Cancer & Lifesaving Whispers from the Grandmother I Never Knew: A Memoir, Amy Byer Shainman chronicles her journey and educates readers regarding genetic testing, counseling and preventative measures.

This informative book is a must-read for everyone with a history of cancer in their family; those who carry the BRCA gene mutation have an overwhelming 85 percent chance of developing breast cancer. Shainman stresses the importance of being informed and trusting your intuition. After her sister, Jan, had surgery for ovarian cancer and learned about genetic testing, Shainman realized that her grandmother, Lillian, who had died at 33, also had breast cancer. Shainman was referred to a certified genetic counselor and tested positive for the BRCA1 gene. With raw honesty, Shainman articulates coming to terms with her decision to have a prophylactic "preventative" mastectomy. She has since become an advocate for educating those with the BRCA gene and provides firsthand insight and guidance for navigating preventative care. Throughout the book, Shainman reflects on the intuitive guidance she feels from her grandmother despite having never known her.

Although it contains content of a serious nature, there is a lot to like about this well-written book. First, it provides a wealth of information; this can be comforting to readers who are high-risk for certain cancers. Also, Shainman strikes the perfect balance between relating firsthand medical expertise and voicing the emotional rollercoaster involved. Whether she is reflecting on the value of heeding intuition, documenting a surgical consultation, or dealing with anger, Shainman transparently tells it like it is.

One of my favorite aspects of the book is the engaging manner that Shainman creates awareness for the BRCA gene and hereditary cancer. Years before Angelina Jolie's disclosure made headlines, Gilda Radner died of ovarian cancer. In the chapter "Gilda and Norene," Shainman poignantly compares the deaths of the popular comedian and one of her mother's close friends. These vivacious women loved life but died at an early age; she recalls the impact both of their deaths had on her. Shainman also remembers the panic she felt for her sister who experienced similar symptoms to those of Radner. "I knew that there were breast cancer survivors, but I had not heard of an ovarian cancer survivor." The message is powerful and leaves a lasting impression.

Another aspect I enjoyed was Shainman's touching portrayal of her relationship with her sister. Shainman recalls looking up to her older sibling and how safe she felt sleeping in "Sista's" bed. Sisters, in general, share a special bond, but it seems their shared diagnosis has strengthened their relationship all the more. I also appreciated the clever symbolism throughout the book. In addition to the title, sections and chapters are named with references to flowers and gardens. For example, "Part V: Reflection Pond" includes letters and lessons, and "Part IX: Gardeners" is about doctors and counselors.

I didn't note a single error, and I can't I think of one thing I disliked about the book. Therefore, I am pleased to rate it 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend the book to readers who want to learn more about hereditary cancer, genetic counseling, and the BRCA gene.

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Resurrection Lily
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Re: Official Review: Resurrection Lily by Amy Byer Shainman

Posted: 11 Mar 2019, 14:51
by spencermack
Thank you for your review! I can see how reading a book like this could be comforting due to the author's extensive information. The author highlighting their relationships and how it helped with the diagnosis can hopefully, encourage others to find someone to connect with.

Re: Official Review: Resurrection Lily by Amy Byer Shainman

Posted: 11 Mar 2019, 16:16
by Ruba Abu Ali
A much-needed book, indeed! Hereditary cancers are of special interest to me. So, I'll add it to my TBR list. Thanks for the marvellous review, Cecilia!

Re: Official Review: Resurrection Lily by Amy Byer Shainman

Posted: 11 Mar 2019, 18:11
by Cecilia_L
Ruba Abu Ali wrote:
11 Mar 2019, 16:16
A much-needed book, indeed! Hereditary cancers are of special interest to me. So, I'll add it to my TBR list. Thanks for the marvellous review, Cecilia!
Thank you, Ruba. :tiphat:

Re: Official Review: Resurrection Lily by Amy Byer Shainman

Posted: 12 Mar 2019, 07:37
by kandscreeley
This book sounds informative and much-needed. My sister and mother have both had breast cancer. I should be tested for the gene, but I haven't been. I probably need to read this book and find out more. Thanks so much for another good review.

Re: Official Review: Resurrection Lily by Amy Byer Shainman

Posted: 12 Mar 2019, 09:31
by Cecilia_L
spencermack wrote:
11 Mar 2019, 14:51
Thank you for your review! I can see how reading a book like this could be comforting due to the author's extensive information. The author highlighting their relationships and how it helped with the diagnosis can hopefully, encourage others to find someone to connect with.
You're welcome. Thanks for your comment, Spencer.

Re: Official Review: Resurrection Lily by Amy Byer Shainman

Posted: 12 Mar 2019, 09:32
by Cecilia_L
kandscreeley wrote:
12 Mar 2019, 07:37
This book sounds informative and much-needed. My sister and mother have both had breast cancer. I should be tested for the gene, but I haven't been. I probably need to read this book and find out more. Thanks so much for another good review.
Based on your family history, it sounds like the book would be a very helpful resource. Thanks for sharing.

Re: Official Review: Resurrection Lily by Amy Byer Shainman

Posted: 12 Mar 2019, 10:52
by Jaime Lync
This sounds like an intriguing read... from my experience, reading stories that sensitize you to the ordeal that cancer patients and their families go through, can really help you grow as a person.
Thanks for the great review.

Re: Official Review: Resurrection Lily by Amy Byer Shainman

Posted: 12 Mar 2019, 17:54
by Cecilia_L
Jaime Lync wrote:
12 Mar 2019, 10:52
This sounds like an intriguing read... from my experience, reading stories that sensitize you to the ordeal that cancer patients and their families go through, can really help you grow as a person.
Thanks for the great review.
Thanks for your comment, Jaime.

Re: Official Review: Resurrection Lily by Amy Byer Shainman

Posted: 14 Mar 2019, 06:28
by sarahmarlowe
Thank you for your thorough review! This book sounds wonderful. It is refreshing to hear that there is a book on cancer that is also reader-friendly. Although I have already fought this battle, I would like to read this book.

I also salute the author and editors that there are no mistakes. That is quite rare, unfortunately.

Thanks, again!

Re: Official Review: Resurrection Lily by Amy Byer Shainman

Posted: 16 Mar 2019, 17:54
by Cecilia_L
sarahmarlowe wrote:
14 Mar 2019, 06:28
Thank you for your thorough review! This book sounds wonderful. It is refreshing to hear that there is a book on cancer that is also reader-friendly. Although I have already fought this battle, I would like to read this book.

I also salute the author and editors that there are no mistakes. That is quite rare, unfortunately.

Thanks, again!
You're welcome, Sarah. I know you've fought this battle, so I really appreciate your kind comments.

Re: Official Review: Resurrection Lily by Amy Byer Shainman

Posted: 19 Mar 2019, 08:32
by IamShing
This one's caught my attention. Life based facts; I can learn something from it. Thanks :)

Re: Official Review: Resurrection Lily by Amy Byer Shainman

Posted: 19 Mar 2019, 17:19
by EvaDar
How great that someone has addressed the issue of the genetics of cancer in an accessible way. I did not have the BRCA gene fortunately, but remember the concern and the testing. It would be a tough decision if one discovered this while still in good health. The choices are so personal, and I appreciate those who share their experience. A beautiful review. Thank you.

Re: Official Review: Resurrection Lily by Amy Byer Shainman

Posted: 25 Mar 2019, 22:57
by Cecilia_L
IamShing wrote:
19 Mar 2019, 08:32
This one's caught my attention. Life based facts; I can learn something from it. Thanks :)
Thank you. :tiphat:

Re: Official Review: Resurrection Lily by Amy Byer Shainman

Posted: 25 Mar 2019, 22:58
by Cecilia_L
Eva Darrington wrote:
19 Mar 2019, 17:19
How great that someone has addressed the issue of the genetics of cancer in an accessible way. I did not have the BRCA gene fortunately, but remember the concern and the testing. It would be a tough decision if one discovered this while still in good health. The choices are so personal, and I appreciate those who share their experience. A beautiful review. Thank you.
Thank you, Eva. I appreciate your comment.