Now that the holidays are over, I am officially back at work attempting to land a literary agent, reading as many memoirs as I can, and cheering on The Atlanta Falcons during the NFL playoffs. No, I haven't found a literary agent yet; however, I sure hope I land one soon as I am now starting on a third manuscript and the two already in the can are quite intriguing. I just learned of a brand new literary agency looking for authors in a major way so as soon as they open to queries for the new year, my query and book proposal will be landing in their "In" box.
I did read the memoir Pale Girl Speaks: A Year Uncovered by Hillary Fogelson during my holiday break. This narrative speaks to one woman's battle with melanoma or the worst form of skin cancer. Since I have experienced basal cell carcinoma, I was intrigued to read about this gal's cancer experience. First, it is told via conversations for the most part. There are paragraphs of narration on the part of the author, but mostly, you will be reading and learning about her ordeal through conversations she has with her immediate family, friends, acquaintances, and doctors. She does successfully take a no holds barred approach to informing the reader exactly what the excruciating experience of having a melanoma excised is like. I appreciated the fact that she was able to relay a good deal of information about skin cancer, sun exposure, and and skin protection. Interestingly, once this woman is diagnosed, her parents are encouraged to see a dermatologist. It is then discovered that her dad has melanoma in a much more severe form than she displayed. The book mainly discusses what happened once she was diagnosed as well as her father. This came in the form of how each person's life was impacted by the diagnosis, a reflection on how he/she acquired the skin cancer, and how they deal with future recurrences of any form of skin cancer.
For the most part I liked this book, but I must say I was a little disappointed in the abundance of cursing throughout the book. I think she could have gotten her points across without utilizing distracting expletives. There was also a point in the book when I found myself recognizing that the author was actually suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder after her melanoma diagnosis, and I kept wondering why her therapist did not utilize more medications other than just Paxil. For example, there were several times when I personally thought her panic attacks warranted Valium. I say this only because I used to suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder myself, and I used to have severe anxiety attacks. I'm not sure these issues were resolved for the author. Additionally, I located five spelling and grammatical errors while reading this book which surprised me. I could not endorse this memoir as required reading for middle school or high school due to the explicit language; otherwise, it would be a great source of information for young people about the consequences of unprotected sun exposure, genetic links to melanoma, and what you need to know in order to save yourself the horrific experience of having skin cancer.