Carrie Host is 40 years old when she is told that she has a rare form of cancer: carcinoid tumors. She is a mother of three children, two older and a ten-month old baby. She is quite simply devastated. Carcinoid cancer is resistant to chemo and radiation; the only option is surgery and even with surgery this type of cancer usually comes back. Carrie goes home to prepare for surgery and of course all she can think about is what will happen to her family, will she see her children grow up and get married and have children of their own.
This book is a very honest portrayal of cancer and what it is like to deal with it and live through it. We’re taken through Carrie and her husband Amory finding the best team of doctors for her and then through the pain ridden journey she is on after her surgery. Carrie was fortunate in that she not only has a wonderful husband but a great support system altogether in family and friends. She also had the benefit of good insurance which goes a long way to getting good treatment as well. For me, my heart just broke for her reading her very personal thoughts about her family and her very real fears for herself and them.
From the moment I opened this book I had a hard time putting it down. It is difficult to read and yet hopeful at the same time. Carrie pulls the reader deeply into her story with her flowing writing style. I found this book to really have an impact on me. I’ve had several people in my family pass from cancer but my aunt and a very close friend were the two I was closest too. My aunt spent her time at our house when having her chemo treatments and it is painful to watch them lose their hair and be tired and depressed and know there isn’t much you can do to help. As a family member and friend you too feel helpless in the face of this awful ravaging disease.
Thankfully Carrie is still with us and has been successful in fighting her cancer. Obviously she will have to be vigilant all the time but she first started her battle in 2003 and she is here and sharing her story with us now. I think this novel would be comforting to cancer patients to read – someone who understands what they’re going through – someone who gets it. It’s also helpful for those of us who have been through this disease with someone else or are now dealing with it. It gave me great insight into how my aunt and my friend felt in the face of their cancer.
Carrie compares her journey with cancer to a river and it is an excellent comparison. Instead of trying to explain what I probably can’t I’ll share this quote with you that I found so profound…
- ‘You are on the river. You are in a boat, and it even has oars. You have the distinct sense that these simple facts are about to change. You hear the distant roar of the great falls you are headed for, as the river’s current gains speed and depth beneath you. I can barely hear his voice above the rolling waves that are taking me down. The oars are stripped away and the oarlocks are empty. I hold on to the boat but it does not hold on to me. I can just make out the word cancer amid the deafening roar and spray, and then the river swallows me up and every sound with me.’ (pg 25)
I will not soon forget Carrie’s memoir and it will remain on my shelves as one I may pick up again. I also have to make mention of the absolutely beautiful cover. Make sure to visit Carrie’s website here and you can purchase Between Me and the River here in the US and here in Canada.
Thanks to Lisa Roe for the opportunity to read this beautiful book.
Sassy Brit says
So glad it was a happy ending – although she still has to remain vigilant. I never thought I'd be interested in a book like this really, but sometimes I feel we need to know and learn about things we may not like (not the book – her sad story!) Plus, it's great to give people like Carrie the support she needs.
I was waiting to see what you thought of this, sounds a powerful read.
First of all – It is so good to have you back! I hope your dad and Buddy are both doing ok. We love you!
This sounds like a really great book but… I don't think I could read it, at least not right now. A good friend of mine died of cancer a yr and a half ago and another good friend of mine has an aggressive kind of cancer right now. Also my grandmother died of cancer. I have not been able to read cancer book at all. Someday maybe.
I am so pleased to hear that Carrie is still with us. I don't know if I could read a book like this. I think it would upset me too much.
Glad to see you bac Dar. We really have missed you. I hope your dad and Buddy are OK.
Beth F says
NIce review! The book was disturbing but very well written.
I don't think I can ever read this one! But it is a plus that she survived it 🙂
Hope all's well with you Dar!
I'm glad to see you have a post up today because I was thinking about you this morning. I'm sure this book is well written and has a great story to tell, but I would have to be in the right mood to read it because I know it would make me sob.
What a lovely passage you shared Dar. I'm sure her book will help some to cope however, like many others I just don't think I could read this for myself. We are battling cancer in my family as well which would make it difficult for me to get through.
I've been absent from the blogs myself lately and a bit out of touch, but I hope whatever you've been going thru has passed you all are doing well.
One of the members of my face-to-face book club is battling cancer and we spent a lot of time talking about it last night. This sounds like a book that the ladies in my club would appreciate reading. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
I'm so glad that you reviewed this one because I've never heard of it. It truly sounds like a great one!
Welcome back, Dar!
I enjoy memoirs of this sort, even though they are sad. I will add this one to my list. Beautiful review.
I'm positive that this would make me cry too. My mother is a cancer survivor.
I haven't seen this book around before, but it does sound like a good memoir. Cancer is just one of those things that scares the dickens out of me (and everyone else too, I'm sure).
So glad to see you posting today, Dar. I've missed you! This sounds like a wonderful book…difficult to read, but still wonderful. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
It sounds like a heart-wrenching read. I don't think I could handle this one right now as too many people I know have one form of cancer or another right now–very scary.
Nice review. Nice to have you back. Hope all of the family, Buddy and Dad are well. Sounds like a good a much needed book. I seriously would not be able to read it at this time.
This sounds like a heartfelt and hopeful book. I am glad that you enjoyed it so much and gave it such a great review.
Glad to see you back and thanks for the beautiful review. A very close to home subject that I'm not sure I'm brave enough to read yet.
Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading says
This sounds like a great memoir. I will be sure to add it to my list!
This sounds like a wonderful book.
It is nice to see you blogging, I hope this means your dad is better and Buddy is alright.
I rarely read memoir but I know this book will make me cry if I read it. Thanks for the lovely review, Dar! I'm so glad to see you back! 🙂
A wonderfully written review, as always! Not sure I could read this one, but I'm glad it offers some hope.
Diary of an Eccentric
Oh that sounds like such a sad story. Never heard of this type of cancer before, I hope she continues to kick it.
Alice Teh says
A wonderful review, Dar! I'm reading the book and my slot for review is October. It's a powerful read.
When I was a teenager I read 'Death Be Not Proud' and that book has stayed with me all these years. 'I heard the Owl Call My Name' is another book in the same vein that comes to mind reading your review, one that makes you step back and take a look at the really important things in life. Now, as a mother of three, I'm certain a book like 'Between Me and the River' would carry the same kind of weight. The cover is a beauty, effectively conveying it's self relective qualities.
Literary Feline says
This sounds like an inspirational book, even if difficult. I lost a good friend to cancer last year and it is still very raw for me. I am not sure I am ready to read a book like this, but perhaps down the road. Thanks for the recommendation.
Carrie Host says
Hello all of you wonderful readers, I am the author of "Between Me and the River" and I find it very compelling to read your comments. I hope for those that choose to peek inside of my book and my life, that you will be rewarded with accessing your own spectacular strength. For those of you that are reluctant to open the cover, I don't blame you. Just for the sake of aurgument though, I invite you to read the prolouge on my web site http://www.carriehost.com and see my writing style. I will be writing another book and it will not have the word "cancer" or it's shadow in it. So if you are drawn to my voice…keep me in mind for a future read.
My very best to all of you who care so dearly about the written word. Carrie Host/Author