Author(s): Susan Kamholtz Gubar
Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008, Susan Gubar underwent radical debulking surgery, an attempt to excise the cancer by removing part or all of many organs in the lower abdomen. Her memoir mines the deepest levels of anguish and devotion as she struggles to come to terms with her body's betrayal and the frightful protocols of contemporary medicine. She finds solace in the abiding love of her husband, children, and friends while she searches for understanding in works of literature, visual art, and the testimonies of others who suffer with various forms of cancer. Ovarian cancer remains an incurable disease for most of those diagnosed, even those lucky enough to find caring and skilled physicians. Memoir of a Debulked Woman is both a polemic against the ineffectual and injurious medical responses to which thousands of women are subjected and a meditation on the gifts of companionship, art, and literature that sustain people in need.
Winner of New York Times Notable Book 2012.
"Delivered in a voice that is intelligent, feminist and devastatingly honest...Unlike many accounts of life with cancer, it is neither relentlessly upbeat nor melodramatic. Instead, it is straightforward, realistic and incredibly brave." -- New York Times Book Review "Brave, honest...intimate, unsentimental, and darkly funny." -- Boston Globe "Despite her suffering, [Gubar] infuses her book with profound gratitude for family, friends, and colleagues." -- The New Yorker "A clear-eyed and exquisitely written look at the decisions and compromises people make for a little more time on earth." -- Wall Street Journal "Starred review. This raw narrative is as close to therapy and is written as close to the bone as one is likely to find among cancer memoirs. Even so, there is a certain beauty that only someone of Gubar's prodigious abilities can impart to such a painful experience." -- Booklist "Not just a grueling memoir of facing a deadly disease but a powerful expose of the failure of medical science to find better ways to detect and treat it." -- Kirkus Reviews "Gubar's passionate and brave polemic is critical reading for anyone concerned with the state of women's health care in America." -- Publishers Weekly
Susan Gubar is the coauthor of The Madwoman in the Attic, a foundational work of feminist criticism, and the coeditor of The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women. She has received the Natalie Davis Spingarn Writer's Award from the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana.