Official Review: Six Years and Counting by Peter Gordon

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Official Review: Six Years and Counting by Peter Gordon

Post by bluegreenmarina » 09 May 2018, 14:42

[Following is an official review of "Six Years and Counting" by Peter Gordon.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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It is not often that one can describe a memoir about cancer as ‘uplifting’, but the book Six Years and Counting stands apart as an optimistic and hope-filled account. Peter Gordon tells the story of the tests leading to his diagnosis of leukemia, of his journey through chemo, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant, as well as the long and rocky recovery that has followed. Obviously, as he is alive to write and publish the book, we know that the outcome is generally positive, but the author’s optimistic outlook is one of the core elements of his journey right from the start.

As we meet Peter, he walks us through the early steps of discovering his illness, including the agonizing questions and slow reveal of information after a series of tests. Peter also tells us of his life leading up to the diagnosis. He is an active middle-aged man, recently married to his second wife, and living in a beautiful rural mountain home where he teaches skiing part-time. He appears to be at his peak in life when the shocking diagnosis comes through after some questionable bloodwork, and suddenly Peter’s days transform into a jumble of medical appointments, insurance worries, and uncomfortable treatments.

Because he had kept a blog during his treatments and early recovery, and included several of the entries within this account, we are able to experience some what he endured. However, Peter’s focus is never on the tedium or difficulty of the treatments themselves. In fact, he describes the various procedures succinctly and factually, avoiding any tendency to dwell on pain or discomfort. Instead, his primary focus is the support he received during these difficult weeks, primarily from his wife Mary Ann, but also from his mother, close friends, and coworkers. As Peter’s recovery gains traction, Mary Ann experiences health difficulties of her own, and suddenly Peter finds himself in the caregiver role shortly after having been the one being cared for. This shift in perspective solidifies many of the lessons he had begun to learn from his experience and opens gateways to empathy that he did not previously have.

This book is written in an open and easy conversational tone. Though the timeline slips from present day to the past (when outlining the day-to-day events of his diagnosis and treatment), the passages are organized in a straightforward way, and it is easy to keep track of the story. The writing style is detailed but does not lose focus, and those details are chosen well to keep the reader interested in progressing through the story.

The major themes explored in the narrative include the fact that life can change in just an instant, the challenge brought about by uncertainty (especially when dealing with health-related questions), as well as the significant impact made by social support from friends and family. It is this social support that serves as a light during some of the author’s darkest days, and his gratitude and awareness shine through his words. It is also inspiring that he continues to pursue his active outdoor lifestyle despite the new challenges that arise from the side-effects of his treatment, which often render him exhausted and out-of-breath. Rather than giving up and accepting that his life has to change, he continues to push himself to get as close to full recovery as he can.

Though I noticed a small handful of typos, they were very minor and did not detract from my enjoyment of the book. The author’s humble attitude and his ability to balance the good and the bad within his narrative made for a pleasant reading experience. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars, and recommend it not only to folks searching for information on fighting cancer, but also anyone who enjoys hope-filled accounts of people overcoming difficult circumstances. This book is a good reminder to all of us to focus on the joy we have before us now, rather than waiting for some hypothetical future circumstance in which we will be happy.

Six Years and Counting
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Post by Sharon serena » 10 May 2018, 05:55

Life has its ups and downs and having a couple of friends and family to show love and support can be motivating ;love the way you have detailed this in your review .This book sounds very interesting and is definitely a read for me . Great review .

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Post by kandscreeley » 10 May 2018, 07:33

Wow! Cancer is so prevalent in society that it affects us all in some way or another. So, to have an inspirational and uplifting book about someone's journey with cancer is fabulous! This is one that we all should pick up and read. I admire the author for his positive attitude. Thanks for showing this one to us.
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Post by AmySmiles » 10 May 2018, 08:58

Sounds very inspirational. I'm going to recommend this book to a friend who I think would benefit from it. Thanks for the review!
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Post by haleygerstenberg » 10 May 2018, 09:40

I have a family member who is caretaker to a person with dementia, and while this book is more about cancer, from your review it sounds like it applies broadly to the fickleness of circumstance and handling it well... I think I'll recommend it to her.

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Post by SABRADLEY » 10 May 2018, 13:44

Goodness gracious! I applaud the author on his strength and wisdom in the face of such a terrible ordeal. I can't say I would be so graceful dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Thanks for a great review!

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Post by cpru68 » 10 May 2018, 14:43

The last line of your review got me. How true! I think we all just go through life without being very aware, and then when something like what happened to this author happens, suddenly we have a huge change in perspective. What a challenge for this man to go through such a harrowing experience and then to have his wife also have health issues. I am so glad to see that he made it, and this book is so important for those who need to hear from someone who went through what they may be facing now. This type of book never grows old for me as the miracle it is not only for the one who has found healing but for the reader who gets a dose of hope from reading it.
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Post by Kitkat3 » 10 May 2018, 17:31

This book sounds really uplifting. Great review.

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Post by Riszell » 10 May 2018, 22:37

Even in the life of the strongest person comes a moment of weakness. But giving in to weakness makes us even weaker.

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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 10 May 2018, 22:52

The power of positivity! After all it depends on the mind. If a person falls mentally he falls physically as well. This is a good book to anyone to understand the power of positivity. It also reflects on the loving nature and the importance of love. I would like to quote, "Don't pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, after all those who live without love", Albus Dumbledore.
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Post by Vickie Noel » 11 May 2018, 00:36

The author's strength of character is revealed in his ability to balance the good and bad aspects of his health struggles, refusing the tendency to dwell so much on the pain he evidently went through. I applaud him for that and the fact that he did not resign himself to his fate but continued with activities that consistently inched him nearer to recovery. Thanks for the great review.
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Post by Libs_Books » 11 May 2018, 13:51

I imagine that this book could be comforting to someone in similar circumstances and maybe also an inspiration for the rest of us. Actually, perhaps the word you chose is best: uplifting.

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Post by gen_g » 14 May 2018, 09:16

Thank you for your detailed review; this book seems to be an inspiring read.

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Post by Britty01 » 15 May 2018, 12:13

Thank you bluegreenmarina for the carefully detailed review of Six Years and Counting by Peter Gordon.

It is really welcome to find a book that gives an account of a real-life struggle with a life-threatening disease that is also uplifting. The inclusion of his journal accounts also bring this to life and allows the reader to get an understanding of what he went through.

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