When Monique Doyle Spencer wrote The Courage Muscle, A Chicken's Guide to Living with Breast Cancer, she couldn't find a publisher willing to take the book on. It was funny, you see, and all the publishers thought it was inappropriate to have a funny book about cancer. She showed me a draft, and I said that our hospital would publish the book, and we did. Since then, it has brought good-humored hope and advice to patients and families around the world. As one reviewer said: "It should become a textbook for the medical professions and a guidebook for all who must confront, or support those who do, breast cancer. It is a beautiful book, beautifully written, that sweetly balances gravitas, zaniness and one person's truth. The author's humanity is in full, accessible display for all to see, share and learn from."
Monique died on Thanksgiving weekend in 2011 , and along with our fond memories of her, the book remains . I happen to have several dozen copies, as does her husband Michael. We have decided to offer them at no cost to the readers of this blog. First come, first served, until we run out. Just submit a comment with your name and snail mail address, and we will send one off to you in a few days.
To whet your appetite, here is a story about Monique's humor. It occurred a few months before in 2011. Michael tells it
Bobby McFerrin gave a marvelous concert, showing his voice as an instrument, to a packed house at Symphony Hall. Afterwards he came to the front of the stage and sat, legs dangling, to answer questions. After a bit, Monique plunged in, without being acknowledged, and asked about whether he was asked to do " Don't Worry Be Happy ." I could feel the audience cringe. McFerrin gracefully answered the question and said he does not perform the song and was sorry to disappoint. Monique shot back, "I did not say I liked it." The audience broke out laughing and McFerrin fell to the floor and lay down on the stage, doing the same.