“A frank, riveting, often hilarious memoir.” –Claire Messud
“Elizabeth Benedict’s eighth book will mess with you — in irresistible ways. Despite its scary subject, this chronicle reads more like a breathtaking whodunnit — or rather, a whatdunnit… Best of all, Benedict’s writing sparkles.” Joan Frank, Boston Globe
“You can whip through Rewriting Illness in an evening. Short chapters with snappy titles transform a book about illness and recovery into a thriller…. Jesse Kornbluth, HeadButler
“When I finished the book, I felt like I had made a new friend, and all I wanted was to keep our conversation going. This is more than a memoir, it’s an experience.” –Lori Gottlieb, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
“Her surprisingly entertaining memoir should be required reading for every medical student, resident, and physician … an ideal teaching tool.” – Kathy Niknejad, MD, Faculty, Harvard Medical School
What happens when a novelist with a “razor-sharp wit” (Newsday), a “singular sensibility” (Huff Po), and lifetime of fear about getting sick finds a lump where no lump should be? Months of medical mishaps, coded language and Doctors Who Don’t Get It. With wisdom, self-effacing wit, and the story-telling artistry of an acclaimed novelist, Elizabeth Benedict recollects her cancer diagnosis in compact, explosive chapters that have garnered enthusiasm from writers, therapists, filmmakers, and doctors.
“By turns witty, vivid, and harrowing, as though Nora Ephron had written a book called, ‘I Feel Bad About My Tumor.” – Thomas Beller, J.D. Salinger: The Escape Artist; Lost in the Game
“Rewriting Illness is a superbly intelligent and surprisingly entertaining memoir about what happens when a lifelong fear of illness collides at last with illness itself… hard to put down.” Stephen McCauley, My Ex-Life
“Memoirs of serious illness are often good suspense stories, and this one is a page-turner…” Sigrid Nunez, The Friend, What Are You Going Through?
“I devoured Elizabeth Benedict’s beautiful book in one sitting—couldn’t put it down.” Betsy West, co-director RBG
“A New York City cancer memoir informed by Susan Sontag and Nora Ephron…. A fine antidote to anodyne cancer accounts.” Kirkus Reviews
“Elizabeth Benedict’s book is brave, heartening and beautiful. We avert our eyes from the deep terror that she must face; she faces it and faces it down. This book is a lesson in how to live. Brava.” -Roxana Robinson, Sparta, Dawson’s Fall, Georgia O’Keefe: A Life.
“As a physician at teaching hospitals, I was reluctant to take my work home with me and read Elizabeth Benedict’s memoir about her encounter with cancer. But I was immediately caught up in Rewriting Illness. Her candor, self-effacing wit, storytelling, and probing of how doctors communicate are riveting. With vivid scenes and a light touch, she explores her own experience and the language we use (or avoid using), our discomfort with uncertainty, and the consequences of these choices on our patients when they’re out of our sight. Her surprisingly entertaining memoir should be required reading for every medical student, resident, and physician, prompting us to reflect on how we talk to and care for our patients – an ideal teaching tool.”- Kathy Niknejad, MD, Faculty, Harvard Medical School
“Memoirs of serious illness are often good suspense stories, and this one is a page-turner. I read Elizabeth Benedict’s Rewriting Illness in a single sitting and finished it infinitely more knowledgeable about what it means to be diagnosed with cancer. Here is someone who’s figured out not only how to think about the unthinkable but how to turn her into an honest, gripping, and genuinely humorous story. It’s the kind of inspiring book you want to share with all the important people in your life.” -Sigrid Nunez, author of What Are You Going Through and The Friend.
“Witty, vivid, harrowing, as though Nora Ephron had written a book called ‘I Feel Bad About My Tumor.’ Especially good on the abrupt, stopped-time feeling when the flow of life—city life, complicated life, sentient life—collides with illness.” -Thomas Beller, Author of J.D. Salinger, The Escape Artist and Lost in the Game: A Book about Basketball
“Rewriting Illness is a superbly intelligent and surprisingly entertaining memoir about what happens when a lifelong fear of illness collides at last with illness itself. Elizabeth Benedict … writes with an honesty and a sly sense of humor about herself that make this book hard to put down.” -Stephen McCauley, author of My Ex-Life
“I devoured Elizabeth Benedict’s beautiful book in one sitting. I’m moved and astonished by how she made her cancer story universal, even for someone who is not yet, knock wood, a member of that club… -Betsy West, Documentary director (RBG, JULIA, Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down)
“The moment every woman dreads of finding a lump where no lump should be is the jumping off point for Elizabeth Benedict’s startling, self-aware, and wickedly funny memoir…. It’s full of drama, humor, essential lessons for dealing with doctors, crushing vulnerability, and wonderfully, plenty of hope.” -Mara Liasson, NPR, National Political Correspondent
“It’s not courage unless you’re afraid, and Elizabeth Benedict has courage —and fear — in abundance, in this frank, riveting and often hilarious memoir. If you’ve had cancer, or love someone who’s had or has it, or are just plain afraid of it — that’s to say pretty much everyone — then you’ll want to read this book.” -Claire Messud, Author of The Emperor’s Children, The Woman Upstairs, and The Burning Girl.
“Elizabeth Benedict’s beautiful, brave memoir about her own fears, especially fear of illness, which was eventually realized and had to be overcome, has so much to say about rational and irrational anxieties and the way they haunt women and deprive us of the larger life we crave.” -Katha Pollitt, author of Learning to Drive and Other Life Stories, Subject to Debate.
“Nuanced, thoughtful, with not a cliché in sight. Impossible to put down because the rich inner life the writer – this excellent writer—is so compelling. The story she tells … is a reflection of encountering the unpredictable vicissitudes of life, and its one certainty.” -Katherine Dalsimer, Weill Cornell Medical College; author of Virginia Woolf: Becoming a Writer and Female Adolescence: Psychoanalytic Reflections on Literature.
“I never would have expected a book on illness to be served in nuanced yet delicious bites, but Elizabeth Benedict has pulled off that very miracle. And it’s more than just easily digestible–it’s a warm, smart, funny, insightful, and very honest memoir that will make even the most fearful hypochondriac feel less alone. I’m so grateful for this book! I think you will be, too.” -Ellen Meister, Author of Take My Husband and Farewell, Dorothy Parker
“In Rewriting Illness, Elizabeth Benedict isn’t just rewriting the narrative she’s given when she’s diagnosed with cancer–she’s gifting us her company, which I couldn’t get enough of. With grace, wit, and refreshing candor, she turned her encounter with cancer into an intimate drama, a dark comedy, and a meditation on marriage, motherhood, friendship, secrets, fragility, and love, and in doing so, she asks us to pay attention to everything in our lives that really matters. When I finished the book, I felt like I had made a new friend, and all I wanted was to keep our conversation going. This is more than a memoir; it’s an experience.” –Lori Gottlieb, NYT bestselling author: Maybe You Should Talk To Someone & co-host of the “Dear Therapists” podcast