This is the second book about Laurel Lee’s journey with Hodkin’s disease. Laurel is recently divorced and moved to a completely different city. Her husband has left her with three young children. She lives in a one bedroom apartment. One child sleeps in her bedroom closet, another sleeps in the living room closet and one shares the bed with her. She receives no child support and finds it hard to get a job. She doesn’t even have a driver’s license. Laurel is scared that her cancer will come back and leave her kids nowhere.
Laurel finds good neighbors and with public assistance she is able to rent a house. Her ex-husband seldom gets the kids and it’s obvious the girlfriend is heavily pregnant. Laurel feels quite alone in the world. She dutifully attends her doctor’s appointments.
She learns that her hospital journal has been sent to an agent. Laurel hears nothing about it for a while, but after a while she hears that her book is to be published. The money she gets from the publication is enough to get a house of her own. She has a good neighbor and friends that help to watch the kids. A man named Martin befriends Laurel. He shows up and hangs out with she and the children.
Laurel goes on a publicity tour for her book. She visits Europe. She gets to see her mother. Her children grow without their father.
On a visit to the doctor Laurel tells the doctor that she has back pain. Tests are ordered. Laurel has damage either from an injury or a tumor. Biopsies later, Laurel learns that her cancer is back. Radiation and chemotherapy once again become a part of her life. Martin is there for her, but after her most recent treatment is over, he decides that he cannot deal with disease and kids.
Laurel once again faces the world on her own.
What I liked
Laurel once again faces a dangerous disease. She comes through it. She becomes stronger each time she faces the disease, but ultimately cancer did take Laurel’s life, but not for another twenty-something years. Laurel ultimately died of Pancreatic cancer at the age of fifty-eight, but this was not before becoming a novelist in her own right and a professor. I’m glad that Laurel went on with her life and was able to make something great of it. She taught others to face life and document it.
I’m glad that Laurel was able to find a way to allow others into her heart even when others had broken it and even when others walked away. Laurel is proof that you can beat cancer and survive and have a life afterwards. She didn’t make it to a great age, but she managed to have a lot of experience in just shy of sixty years.
What I didn’t like
Martin seemed like a good guy; he really did, but when it came down to it, he couldn’t handle Laurel’s life. I commend him for leaving before he had committed with a marriage to Laurel, but he’s still kind of a wimp for leaving. I understand why he left, but I still don’t admire him for it.
Laurel doesn’t seem to have a lot of help with her life. I wonder why her parents weren’t more a part of her life. She did well for having so much on her plate on her own. We don’t get everything about Laurel’s life. Her journal entries are rather sparse, so there may be things we’re missing about her life. She may have had a larger network of people helping her than we find out from these memoirs of hers.
If I find the movie based on Laurel’s book, I’ll watch it. The movie was made back in the day, but maybe I can find it.
cancer, hodgkin’s disease, hodgkin’s lymphoma, journal, laurel lee, living after cancer, memoir, signs of spring, Signs of Spring by Laurel Lee, three children
Health, Lee-Laurel, Memoir, Non-Fiction