Home / Sun Devil Shelf Life / Cancer, I'll Give You One Year
Cover of Cancer, I'll Give You One Year by Jennifer Spiegel
January 2020
Wipf and Stock / Resource Publications

College or Unit:

Cancer, I'll Give You One Year

A Non-Informative Guide To Breast Cancer, A Writer's Memoir In Almost Real Time
Jennifer Spiegel

"Cancer, I'll Give You One Year: A Non-Informative Guide To Breast Cancer, A Writer's Memoir In Almost Real Time" is not about eating kale. The book is 100% narrative nonfiction and 0% self-help. It was actually written for the author's children in case she died. This sounds morbid, but maybe "pointed" and "candid" are better words. Embracing candor as an aesthetic, this real-time story hits upon the sacred, the profane, a trip to Epcot, a colonoscopy, her kids' responses to everything and O. J. Simpson's parole hearing. Writing-centric, voice-driven and conscious of a death sentence — no diets or exercises are offered, but the author may give horrible parenting advice. It's undoubtedly funny, but also a meditation on meaning.


Jennifer Spiegel earned a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at Arizona State University in 2003.

Praise for this book

"The truth of the matter is also that this is a gut-honest book that will make you laugh and squirm and get nose-prickly with tears and want to run every pink-ribboned marathon in support of cancer research. I can think of few other books in which the author has bared her heart as wholly and generously as Spiegel has in these pages."

David Abrams
author of "Brave Deeds and Fobbit"

"Confronted with a diagnosis of breast cancer, Jennifer Spiegel decides to do what she knows best — she writes her story. It's an unflinchingly honest story of the fears, frustrations, pains of treatment and worries of a young wife and mother. Her authentic voice, her sense of humor and her willingness to acknowledge her flaws make this a unique and beautiful memoir."

Sandra Marinella
author of "The Story You Need to Tell: Writing to Heal from Trauma, Illness, or Loss"