The Girl with Nine Wigs: A Memoir

Sophie Van Der Stap. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-05223-0
In 2005, at the time of this Amsterdam-based memoir, the author was a 21-year-old college student who was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Inspired by an episode of Sex and the City, Van Der Stap surmises that if the show’s Samantha can look fabulous wearing a wig, she can too. Though she experiences the customary cancer-related fears and trials during treatment for her aggressive disease, Van Der Stap discovers that her wig collection provides a way to engage in a “parallel life where cancer doesn’t exist.” Buoyed by the color and imagined characteristics of each wig (Uma is sensual, Sue is headstrong, Daisy is romantic, etc.), Van Der Stap undergoes 54 weeks of chemo and radiation while making time to fall in love, fantasize about an attractive physician, travel to the South of France, go dancing, and grasp what she can of life. While cancer is certainly not a gift, the experience deepens her bond with her sister, parents, grandmother, and friends, and helps her to learn that by changing just one letter, “live becomes love.” The author, now 32 and healthy, renders her tale with a poignant awareness of the joy that is possible even in the most dire circumstances. Readers will swiftly be drawn into this beautifully written story of a brave and quite fascinating young woman. Agent: Katrin Hodapp, Susanna Lea Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/27/2015
Release date: 09/29/2015
Ebook - 978-1-4668-5370-6
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