A Patchwork of Pink
by Beverly Arnold
Balboa Press

"I guess I felt impunity—immune to any serious outcome. The tumour was only tiny—virtually an imposter."

At 69, the author is living her dream of becoming a recording artist. With an album—It’s Never Too Late—completed, she contemplates moving forward in her new career by taking on the nerve-racking proposition of performing for a live audience. Her plans, however, are put on hold when she discovers a small lump in her left breast. Arnold’s memoir relates in great detail each step of her breast cancer journey, including her struggles with depression while undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She writes with honesty and humor as she recalls this difficult time in her life. She also tells of her adopted home, Australia, and her life in the country with its entertaining wildlife for which she cares deeply, devotes much of her resources to feed, and, at times, ensures their survival. In fact, the book is as much a love story about Australia as it is a step-by-step tutorial on cancer treatment.

Though Arnold writes honestly about the trials of breast cancer, one never gets the impression she feels sorry for herself. Rather than a story about life’s sorrows, hers is one about its joys. Though the diagnosis and subsequent treatment pose many physical challenges to the author, she nevertheless takes time to feed and carefully observe the native birds and other wildlife around her. Except for an array of domestic pets, she admirably battles the disease while living alone and continuing to maintain her home and gardens. She writes of her daily life, including her trips for chemotherapy and radiation, in a matter-of-fact tone without a hint of self-pity, even finding humor in the absurdity of her changing body. Arnold’s ability to retain her sense of humor through such an ordeal is a testament both to her resilience and the human spirit.

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