Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Book Thoughts: The Cost of Hope: A Memoir

One of my goals this year was to read 10 nonfiction books.  I haven't really cared what topics the books were, but hoped for some variation in my reading.  Choosing the books has been relatively simple. I'd log into the library website, clicked nonfiction and sorted by what is available right now electronically.  I came across Amanda Bennett - The Cost of Hope: A Memoir and began reading.

This book was probably the wrong choice for me, but why I selected it among others that were available is because I was curious about the cost of hope with her husband's cancer.  The story is told from when they met through a little after his death.

I shed less tears than I thought I would, with cancer being a topic I've thought a lot about over the last four months.  Reading about the treatments, the doctors, the cost, the downward fall, the remission, adjusting to new routines, clinical trials, insurance, working, the family, hospice...I couldn't not help but wonder about ManFriend and my aunt especially, but even a past co-worker and my godfather.

I didn't love the style of writing.  She would tell a story then do flashbacks or fastforwards and at times it was confusing (which is surprising because normally I love that style) because it happened so frequently.  But the overall story was a quick read and I 'enjoyed' (for lack of a better word as I type this) reading about cancer from someone who had way more at stake.  It helped me understand what my aunt and uncle are currently going through, and I thought a lot about the past people I've known that had cancer and what their families went through, especially years ago when I didn't quite understand as much.

The one part of the book I was not thrilled about was in the afterward.  After the story, we tend to be curious, we want to know where the people are now.  I would have been happy with knowing what the total cost of care was, more facts about insurance, treatments, the 'interviews' after the fact, realizations that you didn't think of in the moment but realized in hindsight.  She touched a little on that, but also included that she is happy and has moved on, I felt like that should have been left out.  240 pages were about the husband and how they had a rocky relationship to start that turned into respect, devotion and passion for over 20 years.  I am all for moving on, healing, having someone by your side, but I just spent 240 pages reading about how much you loved this guy and what you did to try to save him.  Seemed a little out of place.

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