Texas is big. Dang big. Big meat, big hats, and big, big, hair. Texas women have hair so big it gives Texas honeybees beehive envy. What's a girl to do when, thanks to chemotherapy, she has to battle cancer without even her god-given right of Big Hair? If you're Joni Rodgers, you use humor, candor, anger, and finally, grace and dignity (sprinkled with healthy doses of sex and Jell-o®). Funny, moving, and inspiring, Bald in the Land of Big Hair is a tribute to the triumph of the human spirit, the importance of community, an the imperative of living each day with joy and grace. And a darn good wig.
About the Author:
Joni Rodgers is the author of two novels and many articles, and has appeared as a keynote speaker for the Lymphoma Research Foundation, the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, CanCare, and other conference and benefit audiences nationwide. She lives with her family near Houston, TX.
At first blush, a lighthearted romp through the horrors of chemotherapy seems like a stretch. Yet that is just what Rodgers has attempted with considerable success in this memoir of her bout with cancer. Even Rodgers admits, "I didn't find cancer all that funny, especially at the time." Then why the comic touch? If her previous novels--Crazy for Trying (1996) and Sugar Land (1999)--are any indication, she delights in creating over-the-top characters whose idiosyncrasies highlight the world's absurdities. And nothing is quite so existentially absurd as a reminder that you are about to die: "You stop living and start staying alive." The comic tone enables Rodgers to render the ordeal without monochromatic grimness. While essentially a story about cancer and its implications, the vehicle is Rodgers herself. She portrays herself as a rebellious, somewhat loopy woman who, almost despite herself, managed to find professional success, marry a good husband and have two kids. Into this setting comes an intruder in the form of a lump in her neck and a puzzling loss of energy: she has a virulent lymphoma that requires aggressive treatment, including chemotherapy. While Rodgers's attempt to convey serious business lightly is commendable, the constant wisecracking keeps the reader at an emotional distance. And when she does turn serious, the insights are pedestrian: "Truly, I promise you, grace is real, God is here, and in the end, everything is going to be all right." Fortunately, Rodgers survived her ordeal. The memoir that sprang from it, though, is stronger on anecdote than insight. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.