Wet Earth and Dreams - CL

Jane Lazarre, Author, Jane Lazarre, Author, Lazarre, Author
Jane Lazarre, Author, Jane Lazarre, Author, Lazarre, Author Duke University Press $59.95 (136p) ISBN 978-0-8223-2206-1
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 07/01/1998
Reading Lazarre's (Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness: Memoir of a White Mother of Black Sons) latest is like spending time with a friend, albeit an intense and occasionally neurotic one who can lapse into trendy psychobabble (""I must recover this desire so its hopelessness can be separated from all other desires, its horrible futility leaving me with shame or with dread or with nothing or with rage""). What Lazarre desires is her mother, who died of breast cancer when Lazarre was seven. That experience shaped Lazarre's life and this engrossing memoir. Grief and recovery figure heavily in the narrative, in which she copes with her own breast cancer and, in the process, comes to terms with her mother's death and the silence in which her family shrouded it. But this is no exercise in self-pity and self-absorption, nor is it a one-dimensional look at illness. Lazarre does offer vivid and often frightening glimpses into treatment, such as the nurse who yells, ""Do you want to compromise your longevity?!"" when questioned about overlapping radiation with chemotherapy, and the radiation attendant who tells Lazarre, ""with a stunning, callous smile,"" that the black cross inked on her chest is there for the medical staff's convenience. But mostly this is Lazarre's effort to come to grips with who she is and how she became that way. It's a story bound to move anyone who has ever experienced love or loss. (Sept.)
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