Skip to main content

The Bookshelf: Feb. 16, 2016

In this week's Bookshelf, our content partner Kirkus Reviews highlights A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles.

Lead image for this article

Trib+Health is joining with respected books authority Kirkus Reviews to bring you select reviews of books of note in the field of health care. For more book reviews and recommendations, visit

A SERIES OF CATASTROPHES AND MIRACLES: A True Story of Love, Science, and Cancer

by Mary Elizabeth Williams

"Who would have thought a book about being diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma could be exhilarating and entertaining? senior staff writer Williams (Gimme Shelter, 2009) describes going to her dermatologist to check out a scab on her scalp. A biopsy indicated malignant melanoma that required immediate surgery that would leave a permanent bald spot. … The spoiler at the beginning assures readers that instead of the usual monthslong life expectancy for stage 4 melanoma patients, the author is currently cancer free, even after her disease had progressed to metastases affecting her lungs and a spot on her back. … The author was buoyed by a strong personality and a supporting cast of family and friends, including one whose ovarian cancer serves as a powerful subtext that cancers often kill. … Williams delivers a complex tale about a complex disease, and by sharing a narrative rich in detail, personalities, and New York scenes, she will ease the burdens of those immediately affected and inform others of progress in cancer research."

For the full review, visit

Texans need truth. Help us report it.

Support independent Texas news

Become a member. Join today.

Donate now

Explore related story topics