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C: Because Cowards Get Cancer Too Paperback – 8 Apr 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vermilion; 1st Paperback Edition edition (8 April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091816653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091816650
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Once upon a time, being "unwell" meant a columnist was, how shall we put it, indisposed. Now, being truly unwell is no excuse for not filing your copy, and the resulting column is in danger of becoming something of a genre. If so, then here is its best exponent. John Diamond was just a common-or-garden Times columnist, a "sometime smoking, unexercised and overweight man of fortyish", and, being an expert hypochondriac, expectantly waiting for his first heart attack. Until 27 March 1997. Then he was diagnosed as having cancer. C is his "attempt to write the book I was looking for the night I got the bad news." C is a blow-by-blow account of the progress of his cancer and its various treatments, interlaced with forays into the daunting medical literature, autobiographical reminiscences, and meditative reflections on what this all means. As a guide to cancer, Diamond is usefully knowledgeable, able to cut through the medical profession's defensive euphemisms and tell us what's really going on. As a guide to himself, Diamond is unstintingly honest, so we get the whole man with all his personal strengths and foibles, and it's actually difficult to read the prognosis with which he leaves us. And to produce that degree of engagement is an achievement for any writer. --Alan Stewart

Book Description

The witty but compelling story of one man's view of his cancer and its treatment which became an instant bestseller on its publication.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 April 2001
Format: Paperback
I am not renowned as a great reader, but was looking for a book that would look at cancer from another angle. My father was recently diagnosed with Lung Cancer, and I thought who better to tell me what he may be feeling than someone who had been throught it all. The book was truely inspirational to me, and I found that I was able to smile at things I thought I would not smile at again. John Diamond's style of writing is such that I found it difficult to put the book down. I would whole heartedly recommend this book to anyone - You don't need to read it to find out about cancer(there are many books on that subject!) You do however need to read it to find out about life and that amazing thing called Human Spirit!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Jun. 2002
Format: Paperback
This should be required reading for all medical students and nurses.I re read it when I was in hospital being treated for cancer and I found it a great companion.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Nov. 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is apparently now required reading for oncologists and their ilk who have to deal with cancer patients and their relatives on a daily basis. This is a good thing, as so often, people in these tragic situations get ground up and spat out by the system, rather than helped by it.
Diamond was one of the first people to write about his condition and the situations in which he found himself. Now there are a plethora of books out there, all worthy in their own way, but which perhaps make this book just one of millions and liable to be missed, which is a shame.
Much of the pleasure of the book, and it is a pleasure to read, despite the painfulness of the material, is in Diamond's uniquely funny and self deprecating voice, which is sorely missed now that he is gone.
This does not make for comfortable reading material, but it is good to see someone get angry and be human about their pain, rather than turning into Mother Theresa and insisting that everything is alright. Of course everything is not alright, and we feel time and again that Diamond has to literally pull himself up by his bootstraps to face what is to come, and we sense the anxiety and fear in him that things will not go right, and what will he do?
As ever, there are no right answers here. The only thing we can do is understand the individual and their need to cope with what comes in whatever way is appropriate to them. That he allowed us to share his feelings, for however brief a time is an honour, and of all the books of this kind this is one of the best, equalled only by Ruth Picardie's also groundbreaking and heartbreaking work, Before I Say Goodbye.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 May 1999
Format: Paperback
John Diamond is one of those journalists who pop up in all sorts of civilised BBC TV and radio programmes; the sort of bon moteur I never tire of watching and listening to. This is a spare, lean and erudite account of his throat cancer, and is full of his characteristic wit and matter of factness. It is so readable and at times laugh out loud funny. At the same time it is moving. Last year I read Ruth Picardie's "Before I Say Goodbye", also about living with cancer, which moved me to tears. C, is not so different and equally effective in illustrating life with cancer. There, but for the grace of God, go I. Diamond and Picardie's books are ground-breaking. Whereas the latter was posthumumous, Diamond's is a living testament to stoicism, even though he would not accept that he is a stoic. Thankfully John Diamond is still with us. This book shines with his personality. For me this is epitomised by two TV appearances I remember vividly. On BBC2's Behind the Headlines, sometime in the early nineties, he was berating the closure of libraries, saying that when he was growing up in Hackney, possession of a library card meant one thing: civilisation. I saw him on Ruby Wax's late night food and chat show, when he was in post-operative discomfort. Despite this I could tell exactly what he was saying. A fine book which in future will be studied by medical and literature students alike.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 May 2002
Format: Paperback
I came across John Diamond towards the back of The Times magazine one Saturday afternoon.
Not ever having read anything about him before, and not knowing that he had cancer,I, at first, found his column to be rather bleak.
Though it always had a streak of wit and dark comedy running through it.
It was shortly before his death that I read his book, C:Because Cowards get cancer to.
Well, though he hated to be refered to as brave, he was certainly no coward.
The way he coped with his cancer, and was able to write about his disease with such flair and wit, is really beyond most of our understanding.
We also musn't forget that before his writing about his disease made him famous John was a prolific writer, journalist, columnist and broadcaster.
He remained prolific, at least in terms of the written word, right up until his death in March last year.
In this book he tracks the 'progress' of his throat cancer, including having to have part of his tongue removed, and does so in a matter of fact way.
His lack of self-pity, the way he didn't want to be seen as a 'victim' but just as someone who had got cancer, was truly refreshing.
The ultimate irony about him, of course, is that he became the man profligate with words who couldn't speak and the man who was married to a top TV cook and yet couldn't eat.
Despite all this, however, he remained dignified to the end and, though we will never know the darker side of the torment he must have felt at knowing he was going to die at such a young age and having to leave behind a beautiful wife and two young children who adored him, his sense of what is really important in life remained true to the end.
He once wrote that the meaning of life is 'loving and being loved, about one day being missed when your gone.'
He was right. And he is very much missed.
Mathew Hulbert.
Journalist.
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