'It's Saturday and everything is different. No, I didn't go to the market this morning and I didn't have my usual coffee on Westerstraat. And no, I wasn't getting ready for a new semester at college. Next Monday, January 31st, I have to admit myself at the hospital for my first chemotherapy session.Read more...
'It's Saturday and everything is different. No, I didn't go to the market this morning and I didn't have my usual coffee on Westerstraat. And no, I wasn't getting ready for a new semester at college. Next Monday, January 31st, I have to admit myself at the hospital for my first chemotherapy session. For the next two months, I'm expected each week for a fresh shot of vincristine, etoposide, ifosfamide and loads more exciting abracadabra.'
Sophie is twenty-one when she is diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of cancer. A striking, fun-loving student, her world is reduced overnight to the sterile confines of a hospital. But within these walls Sophie discovers a whole new world of white coats, gossiping nurses, and sexy doctors; of shared rooms, hair loss, and eyebrow pencils.
As wigs become a crucial part of Sophie's new life, she reclaims a sense of self-expression. Each of Sophie's nine wigs makes her feel stronger and gives her a distinct personality, and that is why each has its own name: Stella, Sue, Daisy, Blondie, Platina, Uma, Pam, Lydia, and Bebe. There's a bit of Sophie in all of them, and they reveal as much as they hide. Sophie is determined to be much more than a cancer patient.
With refreshing candor and a keen eye for the absurd, Sophie van der Stap's The Girl With Nine Wigs makes you smile when you least expect it."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-07-27
- Reviewer: Staff
In 2005, at the time of this Amsterdam-based memoir, the author was a 21-year-old college student who was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Inspired by an episode of Sex and the City, Van Der Stap surmises that if the show’s Samantha can look fabulous wearing a wig, she can too. Though she experiences the customary cancer-related fears and trials during treatment for her aggressive disease, Van Der Stap discovers that her wig collection provides a way to engage in a “parallel life where cancer doesn’t exist.” Buoyed by the color and imagined characteristics of each wig (Uma is sensual, Sue is headstrong, Daisy is romantic, etc.), Van Der Stap undergoes 54 weeks of chemo and radiation while making time to fall in love, fantasize about an attractive physician, travel to the South of France, go dancing, and grasp what she can of life. While cancer is certainly not a gift, the experience deepens her bond with her sister, parents, grandmother, and friends, and helps her to learn that by changing just one letter, “live becomes love.” The author, now 32 and healthy, renders her tale with a poignant awareness of the joy that is possible even in the most dire circumstances. Readers will swiftly be drawn into this beautifully written story of a brave and quite fascinating young woman. Agent: Katrin Hodapp, Susanna Lea Agency. (Sept.)