by Chuck Myer, memoir (2008)
Umbach Publishing, $15.00, ISBN 978-0-6152-0681-3
My apologies in advance if this review ends up being too personal for your liking. I bought Chuck Myer's Melanoma Melodrama mostly because I've lost many family members and loved ones to all kinds of cancer and therefore Chuck Myer's frank and even humorous account of the first few months of his coping with skin cancer is something that interests me. I suppose a part of me will always want to know what a cancer patient is feeling or thinking about because... I don't know, it may not be a logical feeling, but I suppose reading about such accounts allows me to relive my time with those dearly departed, to ensure that I will always remember that even when they are gone, they will still live in my heart.
Melanoma Melodrama sees the author often being humorous despite the gravity of his health problem. This is, in a way, a double edged sword for me because while I appreciate the candor and the light-hearted perspective, it also makes my heart break even more that such a brave man is suffering the way he is. Mr Myer doesn't spare any details, right down to an account of his radical neck dissection, and I find that, for a religious man, his perspective on why he has this disease in the context of his faith most interesting indeed. And no, this is not a strong Christian-themed book, in case you are starting to wonder - this book is secular enough despite Mr Myer's faith to appeal to anyone who doesn't like books with strong Christian themes.
The author's humor is nicely complemented by his determination to deal with his cancer with an upbeat and optimistic attitude. Indeed, I wish I had read this book when I was caring for a friend who had lung cancer - there are some good advice to be had here either directly from Mr Myer or inferred from Mr Myer's actions. The greatest reason why this book works, in my opinion, is that Mr Myer doesn't pander to the reader's emotions. Unlike what the title may lead you to believe, there is no melodrama here. No over-the-top tearjerker moments, no manipulative scenes involving babies or dogs, none of that at all. Just a candid and no-holds barred account of a man's uphill struggle against melanoma. Melanoma Melodrama is real, feels real, and that makes it an even more heartbreaking read.
By the way, an electronic version of this book is available for $8.00 at http://www.lulu.com/content/2677504 if you don't want to pay for shipping fees.
This book at Amazon.com
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