Book: When Thoughts Invade The Cancer Conqueror
Author: S Nilakanta Siva & Rajalakshmi Siva
Publisher: Notion Press
Genre: Autobiography told in the format of a story
In One Line: If you have to choose between life and a few organs less in your body, always choose the former.
Characterisation: This story revolves around Kuppuswamy and his battle against cancer. His grit and determination is very evident throughout the story. The others, like his wife, sons and other relatives are also important contributors to this tale. It depicts well that in times of trouble if you have your family with you then the courage to face the challenges becomes easier. The grandchildren provide a humorous respite to the otherwise tale that goes into a complete detailing of what happens when cancer needs to be cured.
Language: The medical terms are in plenty. Although the author says that this should not be turned into a handbook, I feel that one who really wants to know the details should read the book. And it is not for the fainthearted. But if you are a smoker, you might as well have a read!
The author incorporates poems towards the ends of some chapters which are nice. But the quotes from Charles Dickens to Shakespeare, while it does lighten the sombre mood, sometimes the “exaggerations” that the author speaks about in the disclaimer does become so – a tad distracting. I would have preferred to keep reading the story without these.
Plot Setting: Right from the character names (for example, Kuppuswamy and his wife Pramila), to the travel from Karnahalli to Talgudi, the Vaitheeswaran temple – one knows where the story is playing out.
Book Cover Art: Since the story is all about the protagonist’s battle and victory over cancer where he chose to live by doing away with some organs and living with an urostomy bag instead, the cover art makes sense. It’s simple and sensible. It is good that although it is the tale of a smoker; smoking / cigarettes / skeletons and the likes haven’t been given for the cover art. That would have been very usual.
How’s the Title: The title is direct and straight. No hidden meanings or layering. It is a story about the man who fights cancer. Although the entire sequence has been written about in great details, the book is actually about his anguish, joy, and shame.
Is The Blurb Catchy: When a reader picks up a book either the author catches his eye, or the book cover or the blurb. If I picked up this one it would have been due to the blurb. However, somewhere, in the blurb if it is mentioned that the reader will find himself reading a lot of medical facts (some of which might not be easy to read) then it would have been good.
Learning From The Story: If I ever write a story where cancer plays a role, I’m definitely going to be using this for my research.
Areas Of Improvement: There was no need to write this as a ‘fiction’. It is the story of the author’s victorious battle against cancer and his wife’s constant supporting him. It should just have been left autobiographical.
Maybe in the effort to let the readers know exactly what happens during the surgery etc, the author has got down to too much of details. Since the book’s about ‘the thoughts’, I would have liked to read more about the thoughts.
What Is ‘Said By Not Saying’: Nothing is the end till it really is the end. When one dies, he has all the time in the world to continue being dead. So if there’s any chance to live, then give it that chance.
My Reaction When I Finally Closed The Book:
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