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This title in other editions

The Stuff of Life: A Daughter's Memoir

by

The Stuff of Life: A Daughter's Memoir Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When Karen Karbo's father, a charming, taciturn Clint Eastwood type who lives in a triple-wide in the Nevada desert, is diagnosed with lung cancer, his only daughter rises to the challenge of caring for him. Neither of them is exactly cut out for the job. As Dick Karbo's disease progresses, Karen finds herself sometimes the responsible adult, sometimes a stubborn teenager all over again. But in the end, what father and daughter discover more than anything is the love and the toughness that makes them alike.

Review:

"Karbo achieves the near-impossible with this memoir: she wrangles the potentially depressing subjects of death and a dysfunctional family into a funny, uplifting page-turner. When her kindhearted but curmudgeonly father is diagnosed with lung cancer, Karbo begins the exhausting leapfrog between her husband and three children in Portland, Ore. and his triple-wide in the Nevada desert. Her attempts to discuss the rapidly spreading disease with the world's most uncommunicative patient are indeed valiant, but Karbo's honesty about her partial regression into adolescence is what will distinguish her story from the rest of the cancer caretaker genre. After all, what normal human beings in Karbo's position haven't found themselves 'running on the fumes of maturity... still and always the long-suffering sixteen-year-old?' It's refreshing that our tour guide in this country of illness doesn't pretend to be a natural-born Florence Nightingale. Instead, she freely admits, 'I have little patience with the necessary routines of caregiving. I trust doctors about as much as I trust mechanics or the retail associate at Nordstrom who tells me I look fabulous in a pair of $1,200 Calvin Klein capri pants, and am a barf-o-phone to boot.' Karbo may occasionally hide out in the bathroom — reduced to reading the fake newsprint wallpaper during her father's hour-long coughing jags-but, as the end approaches, no one can argue she isn't a devoted, well-intentioned daughter. She may apologize for being a 'blinking, flinching, grief-stricken fool,' but this sense of fallibility and honesty could inspire an alternate subtitle for her book: a survival manual for the living." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Karbo describes nuanced moments of nearly excruciating tenderness, embarrassmennt, frustration, and love, balanced with passages of often side-splitting humor." Booklist

Review:

"Striking just the right balance between the comically absurd and the poignant, [Karbo] shows one how to care generously for a dying parent without losing one's sense of self." Oregonian

Review:

"It is...Karbo's willingness to portray the tough business of grief and mortality in all its unmanageableness and confusion that makes The Stuff of Life a book you want to keep reading, and laughing with, to the end." Seattle Times

Review:

"A lively, insightful and astonishingly unsentimental read, it's intensely funny in places. Karbo excels at bringing people to life on the page." The Washington Post

Review:

"It will resonate with anyone who has gone through the death of a loved one from a progressive disease and the emotions one experiences along the way." Library Journal

Review:

"Karbo's wit, even in the worst of times, brightens what could have been just another dreary disease drama." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"This bittersweet book honestly shows death to be what it is: part of life, with all of its annoyances, inequities, miseries and joys." People

Review:

"Karbo...has established herself as the Northwest's best wisecracker." Seattle Post-Intelligencer

About the Author

Karen Karbo is the author of three novels and the nonfiction book Generation Ex: Tales from the Second Wives Club. Her writing has appeared in Vogue, Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, the New Republic, and the New York Times, among other publications. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781582344454
Subtitle:
A Daughter's Memoir
Author:
Karbo, Karen
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Subject:
Parent & Adult Child
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
BIO026000
Subject:
Parenting - Parent & Adult Child
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20041011
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.26x5.64x.84 in. .78 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Family Issues
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies

The Stuff of Life: A Daughter's Memoir Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781582344454 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Karbo achieves the near-impossible with this memoir: she wrangles the potentially depressing subjects of death and a dysfunctional family into a funny, uplifting page-turner. When her kindhearted but curmudgeonly father is diagnosed with lung cancer, Karbo begins the exhausting leapfrog between her husband and three children in Portland, Ore. and his triple-wide in the Nevada desert. Her attempts to discuss the rapidly spreading disease with the world's most uncommunicative patient are indeed valiant, but Karbo's honesty about her partial regression into adolescence is what will distinguish her story from the rest of the cancer caretaker genre. After all, what normal human beings in Karbo's position haven't found themselves 'running on the fumes of maturity... still and always the long-suffering sixteen-year-old?' It's refreshing that our tour guide in this country of illness doesn't pretend to be a natural-born Florence Nightingale. Instead, she freely admits, 'I have little patience with the necessary routines of caregiving. I trust doctors about as much as I trust mechanics or the retail associate at Nordstrom who tells me I look fabulous in a pair of $1,200 Calvin Klein capri pants, and am a barf-o-phone to boot.' Karbo may occasionally hide out in the bathroom — reduced to reading the fake newsprint wallpaper during her father's hour-long coughing jags-but, as the end approaches, no one can argue she isn't a devoted, well-intentioned daughter. She may apologize for being a 'blinking, flinching, grief-stricken fool,' but this sense of fallibility and honesty could inspire an alternate subtitle for her book: a survival manual for the living." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Karbo describes nuanced moments of nearly excruciating tenderness, embarrassmennt, frustration, and love, balanced with passages of often side-splitting humor."
"Review" by , "Striking just the right balance between the comically absurd and the poignant, [Karbo] shows one how to care generously for a dying parent without losing one's sense of self."
"Review" by , "It is...Karbo's willingness to portray the tough business of grief and mortality in all its unmanageableness and confusion that makes The Stuff of Life a book you want to keep reading, and laughing with, to the end."
"Review" by , "A lively, insightful and astonishingly unsentimental read, it's intensely funny in places. Karbo excels at bringing people to life on the page."
"Review" by , "It will resonate with anyone who has gone through the death of a loved one from a progressive disease and the emotions one experiences along the way."
"Review" by , "Karbo's wit, even in the worst of times, brightens what could have been just another dreary disease drama."
"Review" by , "This bittersweet book honestly shows death to be what it is: part of life, with all of its annoyances, inequities, miseries and joys."
"Review" by , "Karbo...has established herself as the Northwest's best wisecracker."
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