The Adven­tures of Can­cer Bitch

S.L. Wisen­berg
  • Review
By – December 2, 2011
The Adven­tures of Can­cer Bitch is, to me, a shock­ing and dis­turb­ing title. Why use a pejo­ra­tive for women in the title of a book, espe­cial­ly since Wisen­berg says that she was nev­er a bitch” dur­ing her surgery and chemother­a­py? Wisenberg’s answer is not com­plex. Can­cer Bitch” is how she char­ac­ter­izes her­self on her blog. Can­cer Vix­en” and Can­cer Babe” were ruled out. No doubt, the appel­la­tion does get your atten­tion. It con­veys her feisti­ness, sar­don­ic sense of humor, fight­er atti­tude, and will­ing­ness to speak the truth as she sees it. 

Wisenberg’s book is the near-dai­ly jour­nal of her one year’s expe­ri­ences from the diag­no­sis of breast can­cer through treat­ment (chemother­a­py, radi­a­tion, and mas­tec­to­my) and her med­ical updates after that. The book has an impor­tant mes­sage: The diag­no­sis of can­cer is not a death sen­tence. Jew­ish women need to take heed since there appears to be a high­er inci­dence of breast can­cer and ovar­i­an can­cer among Ashke­nazi Jew­ish women. 

This book will espe­cial­ly appeal to peo­ple who have expe­ri­enced can­cer first­hand as patients, fam­i­ly mem­bers, or friends. 

Among S. L. Wisenberg’s pub­li­ca­tions are the books The Sweet­heart is In and Holo­caust Girls: His­to­ry, Mem­o­ry, and Oth­er Obses­sions. She is the co-direc­tor of North­west­ern University’s MA/MFA cre­ative writ­ing pro­gram. Her blog, Can­cer Bitch can be read at http://cancerbitch. blogspot​.com/. Notes, updates.
Car­ol Poll, Ph.D., is the retired Chair of the Social Sci­ences Depart­ment and Pro­fes­sor of Soci­ol­o­gy at the Fash­ion Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy of the State Uni­ver­si­ty of New York. Her areas of inter­est include the soci­ol­o­gy of race and eth­nic rela­tions, the soci­ol­o­gy of mar­riage, fam­i­ly and gen­der roles and the soci­ol­o­gy of Jews.

Discussion Questions