I was surprised to learn that there was more than one comic book memoir about breast cancer. I would like to write pleasantly surprised, because I love comics and graphic novels, but the memoirs could only be written if the authors went through dealing with the horrible disease. See – not so pleasant.
Miriam Engelberg's memoir in comics, Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person, made me laugh out loud repeatedly. Full of black humor and neurosis, Engelberg honestly explores the dark and odd places her mind wandered during her battle with cancer. Cancer Vixen, another comic memoir of breast cancer, reminded me of Sex and the City, and Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person has more the feel of a Woody Allen film. Self deprecating humor, combined with the simple drawings, works as an entertaining page turner.
Engelberg shares how instead of "living her life to the fullest," like a heroine from a LifeTime movie, she found solace in celebrity crossword puzzles. She laments that during chemo her hair will fall out since she just found the perfect shampoo and conditioner combination. She wants to design a t- shirt with an arrow pointing to the breast with a tumor, since she can feel people staring at her chest when she tells them of her diagnosis.
This wonderful little book is pretty powerful. Full of personal details that make her entire ordeal very real. I really appreciate that Engelberg included, at the back of the book, a resource guide for breast cancer support.
You can buy it for $11.21 from Amazon. Or look for it on the shelves of your local bookstore.