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Robert Hawke is an actor and writer. He co-wrote and performs the internationally renowned play NormVsCancer: A Terminally Funny One Man Show. If you would like to see NormVsCancer performed, please contact Rob.
Rob is a 2011 Canadian Comedy Award nominee and has shared in a Gemini Nomination for his work on CBC TV’s SketchCom. He is an alumnus of The Second City comedy troupe. He lives happily in Toronto with his wonderful wife and ridiculously small dog.
on July 06, 2011 :
Robert Hawke is a funny guy, an actor and veteran of The Second City comedy troupe. His world turned upside-down the day he was told the odds were that lump in his neck was thyroid cancer. He needed a guidebook, something to tell him what to expect from this journey – the good, the bad, and the absurd. He couldn’t find such a book, so he wrote one for the rest of us. Kicking Cancer’s Ass: A Light-Hearted Guide to the Fight of Your Life is Hawke’s welcome gift to his fellow Cancer Club members.
Funny people have written books about cancer before. Usually they are memoirs mixed with stand-up-routine yuks, like Robert Schimmel’s Cancer on $5 Dollars a Day (Chemo Not Included). I couldn’t read a book like that shortly after my diagnosis – it was too long on one-liners, too short on information I was craving. Hawke’s humor is subtler; it keeps the reader entertained at a time when they are likely being overwhelmed by a recent cancer diagnosis. There’s solid advice about the emotional roller coaster cancer patients will ride, the science behind the various tests and procedures they’re likely to encounter, and the naturopathic therapies that can be combined with the best Western medicine to improve the patient’s recovery.
One typical example of the very practical advice the reader receives in the book: when talking with the doctor after the initial diagnosis, Hawke suggests, “Write the answers down… because what may seem crystal clear in the doctor’s office can slip your mind when you leave.” As any cancer patient will tell you, this one is right on the money.
There are moments of silliness, like those in a section at the end of the book addressed specifically to caregivers. Hawke lists 8 ways to entertain yourself while at the hospital with your patient, from giving yourself a sponge bath to wheelchair racing to the Obstetrics Ward. These laughs seem to come along at just the right interval before fear and doubt obscure the reader’s ability to see the central message in the book, namely: you will get through this.
If all cancer survivors come through the experience with the desire to help others learn from their own experience that Hawke obviously did, bookshelves would be flooded with great guides to the Cancer Journey. Until then, Kicking Cancer’s Ass is the one book every newly diagnosed cancer patient (and their caregivers) should read.
(reviewed the day of purchase)