Marisa Acocella Marchetto – said New York cartoonist and downtown party girl – answers this question, and many more, in this touching and often funny comic-strip chronicle of her 11-month battle with breast cancer. Drawing (literally) on everything from her first mammogram to radiation treatments, she tells the story of her illness with honesty, bravery and searing Manhattanite humour.
Unflinching in her observations and unflagging in spirit, Marchetto confronts the disease head-on, refusing to become a cancer ‘victim’. Instead, she wears designer shoes to her chemo sessions and marries her long-time love, Manhattan restaurateur Silvano Marchetto, along the way laughing and crying with her friends, arguing with her mother (a.k.a. ‘smother’) and striking up conversations with God.
While laughing in the face of her illness at every available opportunity, Marchetto never trivialises it. ‘Cancer Vixen’ is courageous, honest, funny and frightening, but above all, it achieves the almost impossible, in taking a woman’s worst fear and transforming it into something uplifting, inspiring and life-affirming.
Reviews of Cancer Vixen
‘I found this memoir enormously funny and perceptive, with the bonus of being lovely to look at…She draws an honest sadness, but she does so with humour and self-deprecating, the polar opposite of those ghastly tabloid ‘my brave battle’ cancer stories…as inspiring as those memoirs usually aim to be, but far funnier than most.’ Stella Duffy, Guardian
‘a terrific book…The book is brilliant for several reasons. First, the drawing, a more mainstream version of her pocket cartoon style is peerless with lovely bright colours, and moments of wonderful inventiveness…The storytelling is great too. I read it and I read it again a couple of days later and I’d recommend it to anyone whatever their state of health.’ William Leith, Sunday Telegraph
‘What’s new about Marisa Acocella Marchetto’ s Pop Art, chick-lit confessional is that she is a sassy if superficial “fashionista”: cartoonist; celebrity wife-to be to a top restaurateur in New York’s well-heeled high society: and uninsured when cancer strikes. Hers is the self-deprecating but defiant story of how her man, her (s)mother and her friends, family, faith and a passion for crafting these comics help her ‘kick cancer in the butt…in five inch heels.’ Daily Telegraph
‘Astute and ab-fabulously uplifting – whether you have experience of the big C or not you will want to read this in one sitting.’ Metro
‘Inspirational and entertaining.’ Sainsbury’s Magazine
‘There are plenty of websites and books about breast cancer to keep you well informed (and terrified), but few are any fun. Not so Marisa Marchetto’s graphic memoir, “Cancer Vixen”…There are important lessons about treatment options too.’ Ariel Levy, The Scotsman