Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Feminist author and scholar Gubar received a diagnosis of ovarian cancer in 2008, and the then 63-year-old author underwent the radical surgical procedure called debulking, which removes many of the organs in a woman's lower abdomen. Gubar's memoir is not easy reading. She recounts in detail the grotesque procedures and the horrendous pain and humiliation she endured. The author ponders why major advances have mounted up for the treatment of breast cancer, but little has changed in treating ovarian cancer. Gubar weaves her personal story into a discussion of art, literature, and statements from other cancer patients. The author recounts the strength and care she received from family and friends, especially her husband, from her diagnosis through treatment to remission. She then finds herself confronted with a choice. 'Either I have a third abdominal surgery that comes with its own complications or I suffer from infections preventing future therapies that would extend my life.' Gubar wrote her memoir for one reason: 'my central motive consists of a fierce belief that something must be done to rectify the miserable inadequacies of current medical responses to ovarian cancer.' Gubar's passionate and brave polemic is critical reading for anyone concerned with the state of women's health care in America." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A 2012 Notable Book In this moving memoir, a renowned feminist scholar explores the physical and psychological ordeal of living with ovarian cancer.
A 2012 New York Times Book Review Notable Book
In this moving memoir, a renowned feminist scholar explores the physical and psychological ordeal of living with ovarian cancer.
About the Author
Susan Gubar (Ph.D. University of Iowa) is a Distinguished Professor at Indiana University, where she has won numerous teaching awards, most recently the Faculty Mentor Award from the Indiana University Graduate and Professional Student Organization. In addition to her critical collaboration with Sandra Gilbert, she is the author of Racechanges: White Skin, Black Face in American Culture (1997), Critical Condition: Feminism at the Turn of the Century (2000), Poetry After Auschwitz: Remembering What One Never Knew (2003), and Rooms of Our Own (2006), and editor of the first annotated edition of Woolf's A Room of One's Own (2005) and True Confessions (2011).