On Thursday night I started reading "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother". My interest in the book began when I read the article about it in the WSJ, and the 1,000+ comments that were generated from readers of the piece. To be honest, I enjoyed the book. She came across as being very honest in her shortcomings in mothering her daughter and that "Chinese mothering" did not work with her younger daughter. There were a few other things in the book regarding her ideology that I appreciated, but not so much her methodology.
Midway through what I thought was an autobiographical account of a first generation Chinese mother struggling to impart her culture and upbringing on her children-I was sideswiped with Leukemia. The author's mother in law was diagnosed with Leukemia, came to live with them and died.
(For readers who are not personally familiar with me, my mother died in January of 2010 from Leukemia. She was diagnosed in October of 2008, and made it through a few chemo treatments, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant.)
I shrugged off the few pages dedicated to recounting this experience, and went on with reading.
Toward the end of the book her younger sister, who by my figuring is not much older than I am, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of AML- which is the same type of Leukemia my mother had. This was not a brief account, and the author went into great detail of the suffering this disease and treatment cause. I felt sorry for the family, but at the same time was reminded of the horror of going through it all with my mother--the hives from platelet transplants, the antibiotics with nasty side effects, the graft vs. host disease that caused her to swell up and her skin to peel like she was burnt. All of it played through my mind.
This is probably the fourth book I have read since my mom died where someone gets cancer and dies, or goes through the treatment and suffers to live. The Story Sisters by Alice Walker is a book I read a few weeks after my mom died. I thought it was a story about three sisters, and it was- until midway through when the mom gets Leukemia and dies.
I appreciate reading these stories for the human drama and experience they convey, life is full of sadness as well as joy and grace. However, coming across Leukemia in a story has the same effect as a bucket of cold water being thrown on me