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C: Because Cowards Get Cancer Too [Paperback]

John Diamond
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

8 April 1999
Shortly before his 44th birthday, John Diamond received a call from the doctor who had removed a lump from his neck. Having been assured for the previous 2 years that this was a benign cyst, Diamond was told that it was, in fact, cancerous. Suddenly, this man who'd until this point been one of the world's greatest hypochondriacs, was genuinely faced with mortality. And what he saw scared the wits out of him. Out of necessity, he wrote about his feelings in his TIMES column and the response was staggering. Mailbag followed Diamond's story of life with, and without, a lump - the humiliations, the ridiculous bits, the funny bits, the tearful bits. It's compelling, profound, witty, in the mould of THE DIVING BELL & THE BUTTERFLY.

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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: 13 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational! 10 April 2001
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant,heartbreaking funny book. 11 Jun 2002
By A Customer
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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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkably compelling read. 11 July 2002
Being a reasonably squeamish individual, I am not in the habbit of picking up books devoted to any kind of illness - let alone cancer. But then I was drawn to the strangely chirpy cover of this book not by its title but by the name John Diamond. I was familiar with his writing long before his cancer columns in The Times. And it is testament to his terrific prose and probing insights that I managed to read this book in no more than a few days. His definition of cancer at the begining of the book is memorable for both its clarity and wit. But if there's one thing that strikes the reader throughout, it is the overwhelming passion for life. Even when things get tough - and they get pretty damn tough - Diamond manages to find something worth living for - whether it's the simple pleasures of being in one's own home and experiencing the smells of domestic life, or simply going to buy new clothes.
Don't be put off by the 'c' word. This is a minor masterpiece. A celebration of life - not the dwelling on death.
God bless you, John Diamond.
Alex Pearl, author of 'Sleeping with the Blackbirds'
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly written.
just couldn't put it down. . funny, sad and informative. .throws a brand new light on up to date events.
Published 29 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars sad but good to know
My father died of cancer last year, I wish I had read this book while he was going through his own operations and radiotherapy. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mike Leaves
5.0 out of 5 stars Very moving and hugely amusing for more than half of the book.
This book is a very worthwhile read for anyone who tends to either put off till tomorrow the good things they know they should grasp with both hands, or worse, feels unmotivated or... Read more
Published 3 months ago by antoinette barnard
5.0 out of 5 stars John Diamond
This book didn't inspire me as much as it taught me how much a man may have to endure relentlessly when his time is up. Read more
Published 4 months ago by J. W. Robb
5.0 out of 5 stars So sad, but John deals with the subject with humour, honesty and...
Really touching and honest account of John Diamond's struggle with cancer, giving insight into his thoughts and feelings from initial diagnosis. Read more
Published 4 months ago by mrs r laurie rutherford
5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful book.
Unfortunately with this book like the titanic story you know there is not going to be a happy ending. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Docsuzy
2.0 out of 5 stars Because cowards get cancer to
I had to return this for a refund - I wanted another author by the same name of John DIamond who does Healing books!
Published 9 months ago by Jane Juliet
5.0 out of 5 stars deeply moving
this is an account by a very serious young journalist of his journey into deepening cancer, which eventually kills him he never whines, but just puts the situation as it was. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Andreas
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent epitaph.
Two things I may honestly say: I have never been able to start this book and put it down before finishing it - I happen to have picked it up in every one of the last seven years... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mr. G. Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
Grim but not. No sentimental slush or pondering God's will in this book... it is such an honest account of John's experience of cancer treatment and his feelings and thoughts about... Read more
Published 17 months ago by jules
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