Monday, October 13, 2014

Pandora's DNA: Tracing the Breast Cancer Genes Through History, Science, and One Family Tree by Lizzie Stark

I asked and received this book through NetGalley for free. This review is not sponsored nor influenced in anyway. The book is expected to published on October 15.

First impressions

I wanted to read this book mostly because a couple of years ago my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer and so I wanted to have more information about. This book reminded me of what I was expecting to get when I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, except that in this case it would be tinged with personal experience.

Final thoughts

It can be difficult to let other people help you, to let the people who love you see you weak and in need of support
When I read nonfiction it is very important for me to have my expectations clear. In this case I was expecting a self perspective of what it means to carry a gene that increases your chances of developing breast cancer, with a bit of info about the research on the subject. And I am happy because that is what I get.

This is not a book just about the history of cancer, not even breast cancer, it is the story of Lizzie Stark and how a mutation affected her whole life and her whole family. Often people will think that this type of malady only affects the women in the family, and while most of time it will only be the women who develop a tumor, this doesn't mean that it doesn't take a toll on the men around them.

I found Stark's voice very touching and honest. She had no problem sharing the fact that she was scared, angry and how her decisions were affecting her personal life. She made wonder of all the things my aunt felt like she couldn't share in order to "protect" us and it made me see her in a whole different light. I her case, it was unrelated to a genetic mutation, but she also had to deal with treatments and the possibility of losing her breasts.

When a book like this manages to make you walk in the author's shoes I call that a success.

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