Sunday, July 29, 2012

Chemorella: Choosing Life Over Hair

Every once in a while, I'm asked to review important books. I think that Chemorella, by Katy Franco and Ken Phillips (They are a husband and wife team) is one of those books.

Over the years, I too have had friends diagnosed with Cancer. 
After the initial diagnosis, it gets a little weird. I've been afraid to bring it up other than to offer help. I've been too sad to know how to comfort. I've assumed that they didn't really want to talk about it, just because they said they didn't that first time. My best friend, for example, told me in a text message, and now I understand why. It's not that she didn't want to talk about it. It's that it's hard to talk about at first. There is no worst party pooper, she felt, than a potentially-terminal illness.

I think that's why I liked this book so much. It's brief, simple, clear, and human (the four rules of a good book, according to William Zinzer), and it's a book for that moment in the process when you believe it's real, but are too numb to know how you feel about it, other than to say what a friend who is battling her husband's cancer along with him said to me the other day: it's just not f*ing fair.  

This is not really a children's book, but it can be shared and enjoyed with children. It is honest and uplifting at the same time. It makes it okay to talk about Cancer and makes space to talk about fears, but also about hope, tools, and resources. The humor is gentle--you understand why in the shock of it all, hair seems so crucial. And maybe most importantly, it lets the rest of us in,  so we can better be there for the Chemorellas (os) in our lives. 

Chemorella/ Quimiorella (Bilingual: English-Spanish)
Written by Ken Phillips and Katy Franco
Illustrated by Scott Sackett
Translated by Eduardo Franco
Published by Franco-Phillips-Publishers

***And if you're in Los Angeles on August 20th (my birthday!) don't miss the US premiere of Katy Franco's  "The Breast Years of My Life: Where Cancer meets Comedy" at the Laugh Factory (8001 Sunset Blvd) one night only.  Click on link for info and tickets.

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  1. Anganette, thank you so much for such a great review of Chemorella. I am Katy Franco, co-author of this book and really appreciate your positive review. Chemorella and my laughter exercises have helped thousands of young adults, children and parents to cope with adversity in general. It really is about life over hair, focusing on creative projects over medication side effects and accomplishing having quality of life vs waiting to find a cure. The cure will come, hopefully, but, in the mean time we need to help everyone that is overcoming cancer to improved their daily life and diminish the side effects of the treatments that, hopefully, will save their lives. Laughter is not a cure, but it surely helps to overcome depression and uncertainty during the battle. Health and happiness this Holiday! Join us on Facebook for our "Next Big Thing"!

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