[sic] by Joshua Cody

A quick rundown… A rambling remembrance of Joshua’s cancer treatments –chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant.

Strengths: He has a broad knowledge of a lot of subjects.

Weaknesses: Very free flowing, going anywhere and everywhere.

Why I read it: Sent to me by Bloomsbury – thank you.

Pages: 272

Published: 2011

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Setting: New York City

Rating: 7 out of 10.

If you liked this, try: April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay

When I saw Bloomsbury offering ARCs of this book, I was immediately interested. I loved the title and the cover and I thought it would be interesting to see what chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant was like from the patient’s point of view. While very interesting, the book didn’t quite live up to that side of things for me. This memoir – starting from the end of Josh’s first failed chemotherapy and finishing after his transplant, it contains many, many varied subjects.

First thing you should know is that it’s not really linear. Josh jumps straight into the action, then tells part of his back story every now and again. It’s like a puzzle, but occasionally you miss some pieces. To this day, I’m still not 100% what type of cancer Josh had (some might say this doesn’t matter, but it matters to me).

Second thing is that it’s a bit sexually graphic in places. You might want to hold the book up a bit to avoid over the shoulder readers on public transport.

The bone marrow transplant is more of a secondary plot line. You could say that Josh is reflecting on his life – sex, women, cocaine, hallucinogenic dreams, music and general knowledge. Just as you get interested in one topic, he changes to something else. There is often no introduction to the next topic, which can be confusing to the casual reader. It’s a rambling stream of consciousness.

I read a proof copy, but there were a couple of errors in terms of drug doses – wrong units used so Josh was either getting a massive overdose or tiny dose. Hopefully these have been corrected in the final version, as I wouldn’t want others going through the same thing getting worried.

One good thing is that Josh never rambles on about ‘why me’? He is always out to beat his cancer, no holds barred. In summary, I’d say this is better touted as the musings of a young man in a big city, rather than about the cancer so much.

Thank you to Bloomsbury for giving me the opportunity to read this.

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4 responses to “[sic] by Joshua Cody

  1. I have signed up to be a possible bone marrow donor. If I ever get called, I might read this book. otherwise, I don’t think the subject is for me right now. Good to know he’s not whiny, though. Which, as I type that, sounds rather pathetic on my part. I’m positive that I would be whiny and terrified and cryng ‘why me?’

  2. I’m 100 pages into [sic] now. I find Cody’s musical metaphors galvanizing. The reader that’s “in the know” about a musical piece he alludes to — as when he describes the florescent light on the NYC subway as “Wednesday morning 3am” (the title of an early Simon and Garfunkel song) — is delightfully rewarded with the satisfaction of having picked up on the clue (which, from the lyrics, seems to be loaded with subtext: “…my life seems unreal / my crime an illusion / a scene badly written in which I must play…”). I don’t know how he manages to write it so well! I love his stream of consciousness approach to the narrative. I would imagine it’s how one’s mind works in the midst of such medical horror.

    • I’m not really into music, so some of that went over my head. I discussed with my friend, who also had a bone marrow transplant and she said she pretty much blocked everything, so I guess each to their own – whatever helps you through it.

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