When Katherine Russell Rich was 32, a newly divorced magazine editor living in New York City, her 10-year ordeal with cancer began. Soon she was bald, scrambled, and living in two worlds simultaneously: the world of the ill, of treatments, exhaustion, and doctors focused on avoiding malpractice suits; and the "normal" world, where dating, career, vacations, and 401(k) plans still mattered. Dazzling in its writing, The Red Devil is alternately wise and wise-cracking -- it is the story of a woman who has been brought to her knees several times, only to get up and learn to dance.
"Rich's account of her bout with breast cancer is a roller coaster of emotions: fear, panic, depression, hysteria, elation. It is funny, painful, touching, and finally triumphant. From the time she discovers a lump in her breast (shortly after her divorce), through a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and a harrowing bone-marrow transplant, Rich searches for peace in a life initially devastated by cancer. She copes with the stress of a faltering writing career, cold and indifferent doctors, frightened friends and colleagues, and misconceptions about cancer. She mocks the image of the "noble" cancer sufferer and humorously observes the prevalence of "break-up cancer," women succumbing after ending stressful relationships. Rich's account is also profoundly informative on cancer diagnosis and treatment. When the medical establishment fails to address cancer beyond the statistics, Rich tries meditation, vegetarianism, and alternative medicines. She also discovers the odd blessing the cancer becomes as it forces her to rebuild her life. --Vanessa Bush"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32, Rich, currently a senior editor at Allure magazine, recounts how, over the past 11 years, she has survived a lumpectomy, radiation, several protocols of chemotherapy and hormones, a bone marrow transplant and alternative healing techniques. Her sharp eye for detail and caustic sense of humor (she refers to her ex-husband as Ricky Ricardo in a bad mood) serve her well in this gripping account. Navigating the medical universe of a cancer patient by the seat of her pants, Rich became dissatisfied with several medical professionals before she finally found a physician who had her best interests at heart: her first breast surgeon (male) had been prepared to operate without doing a mammogram until her mother intervened; another oncologist (female) did not return her phone calls and consistently undermined her until Rich finally got the message that she was no longer interested in treating her. Rich also explores the difficulties that having advanced cancer caused in her personal life: she was fired from one job, and a serious romance that had brought her a great deal of happiness ended. Three years after her bone marrow transplant and one week after her mother died, her cancer recurred. Although Rich suspects that her cancer is somehow connected to emotional loss, she evinces a terrific determination to go on living. She is now involved in a combination of alternative treatments and chemotherapy that her oncologist is convinced will stabilize, if not cure, her disease. Anyone who reads this feisty memoir will cheer her on. Agent, Elizabeth Kaplan, Ellen Levine Literary Agency. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved