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Book Review: Now It’s Funny: How I Survived Cancer, Divorce and Other Looming Disasters by Michael Solomon

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What’s so funny about cancer, or divorce, for that matter? Michael Solomon figured that out, and a lot more besides, and lucky for us, he shares it in his unique memoir.

When doctors find a smudge on  Michael Solomon’s lung in an X-Ray, it turns out to be cancer. Solomon’s world is suddenly turned upside down as he is plunged into a new reality of test after test, followed by surgery. The surgery is successful, but less than a year later tests show a “blob” on his kidney. There are more tests, and he undergoes another surgery.

Surely that is enough of a midlife crisis for any man in his 40s, but there is more: Solomon is also separating from and eventually divorcing his wife, struggling to explain his illness to his six-year old son and learning to be a good single father, in a new and smaller home. Oh, and then two planes hit the Twin Towers 25 blocks from his home.

Can he turn to God? No, he’s an atheist.

So how does Solomon keep his sanity? He makes jokes. He makes lists and keeps notes. The result of those lists, jokes, and notes is Now It’s Funny.

Probably because Solomon is a film producer, the book’s pace and attention to detail make it read like a script. The description of the tests, surgeries, and recoveries here are as honest and unsparing as any this reviewer has encountered. Solomon reports his deepest concerns and feelings, and actually manages to make his pain and discomfort very funny in a dark way. He finds humor in catheters, enemas, and other things that would not normally be entertaining.

By refusing to take life, even the painful stuff, too seriously, Solomon has written a memoir that really offers insight into the experience of cancer sufferers while entirely avoiding the maudlin or melodramatic and creates an entirely different type of memoir which deserves to be read and appreciated. While his experiences were not something anyone should have to undergo, at least he survived and was able to give us this remarkable book. Thank goodness.

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About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, and Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.