IT TAKES A WORRIED MAN: A Memoir

Brendan Halpin, Author . Villard $19.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-375-50716-8

Halpin's memoir of his wife's struggle with breast cancer is a heartbreaking read. In the aftermath of tragedy, people will often say, "At least it happened quickly; at least there was no pain." Not so with cancer, even for survivors. Halpin, his wife, Kirsten, and their five-year-old daughter had just moved into their dream house and imagined a reprieve from life's difficulties. A biopsy forced them to face their worst fears: Kirsten's cancer was diagnosed as stage four. She was forced to confront her own death—her survival chances hovered around 60%—as well as the terrific pain and discomfort of treatment. Halpin, a high school English teacher in Boston, Ma., focuses mostly on his own struggles, his silence regarding his wife seems more respectful than self-involved. His eye is unflinching and honest as he observes the medical establishment's seeming indifference, satanic folksinging neighbors, family members too human to be totally selfless, supportive colleagues and, best of all, himself. Although cancer-survivor Kirsten is the true heroine of the book, Halpin is the loving "worried man" rallying behind her. By turns nauseatingly descriptive (the hose stuck through his wife's chest makes for especially queasy reading) and wickedly funny, this memoir of a husband's fight with his wife's cancer is an excellent though painful book for anyone facing similar situations. (Feb.)

Forecast:If the statistics are any indicator (approximately one in eight women will get breast cancer), this book will find its way into the hands of many a husband.

Reviewed on: 12/17/2001
Release date: 03/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 255 pages - 978-0-8129-6687-9
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