counter create hit Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home: A Memoir - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home: A Memoir

Availability: Ready to download

When longtime Zen practitioner and world-renowned writing teacher Natalie Goldberg learns that she has a life-threatening illness, she is plunged into the challenging realm of hospitals, physicians, unfamiliar medical treatments, and the intense reality of her own impermanence. In navigating this foreign landscape, Natalie illuminates a pathway through illness that is grou When longtime Zen practitioner and world-renowned writing teacher Natalie Goldberg learns that she has a life-threatening illness, she is plunged into the challenging realm of hospitals, physicians, unfamiliar medical treatments, and the intense reality of her own impermanence. In navigating this foreign landscape, Natalie illuminates a pathway through illness that is grounded in the fierce commitment to embrace the suffering directly. In the middle of this, her partner discovers that she too has cancer. The cancer twins, as Natalie calls them, must together and apart grapple with survival, love, and the rawness of human connection. This book is a moving meditation on living a genuine life in full bloom.


Compare

When longtime Zen practitioner and world-renowned writing teacher Natalie Goldberg learns that she has a life-threatening illness, she is plunged into the challenging realm of hospitals, physicians, unfamiliar medical treatments, and the intense reality of her own impermanence. In navigating this foreign landscape, Natalie illuminates a pathway through illness that is grou When longtime Zen practitioner and world-renowned writing teacher Natalie Goldberg learns that she has a life-threatening illness, she is plunged into the challenging realm of hospitals, physicians, unfamiliar medical treatments, and the intense reality of her own impermanence. In navigating this foreign landscape, Natalie illuminates a pathway through illness that is grounded in the fierce commitment to embrace the suffering directly. In the middle of this, her partner discovers that she too has cancer. The cancer twins, as Natalie calls them, must together and apart grapple with survival, love, and the rawness of human connection. This book is a moving meditation on living a genuine life in full bloom.

30 review for Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Boone

    I had to force myself not to read straight through this book in one sitting. It pulled me in from its first pages. Why? Because, in this book, Natalie Goldberg doesn’t hold anything back. In these pages, she looks death squarely in the face, suffers deeply, and never really gives up her fierce fight. Actually, I lie. There is a point, about two-thirds into the book, where she does want to end her life. After returning from a writing retreat in Limousin, France (a retreat I participated in), she I had to force myself not to read straight through this book in one sitting. It pulled me in from its first pages. Why? Because, in this book, Natalie Goldberg doesn’t hold anything back. In these pages, she looks death squarely in the face, suffers deeply, and never really gives up her fierce fight. Actually, I lie. There is a point, about two-thirds into the book, where she does want to end her life. After returning from a writing retreat in Limousin, France (a retreat I participated in), she learns that she is ‘lit-up’ with cancer (chronic lymphocytic leukemia) because the last four months of treatment have been unsuccessful and she considers not going on with her life. Thankfully, this is the only moment of true doubt on her path to recovery. Most of the memoir is full of her quest to live life to its fullest even while facing death head on. I loved following her to the burial sites of her favorite authors and poets where she would place small stones of gratitude on their graves. In a non-Catholic cemetery in Rome, she left small stones on the graves of three poets: John Keats, Shelley, and Gregory Corso. When she couldn’t find the poet Richard Hugo’s grave in a cemetery in Missoula, Montana, she ended up going to a bar where he spent a lot of time instead. In Paris, she left an American penny on Simone de Beauvoir’s grave because there were no small stones available. Even though the memoir delves into the grittiness of dealing with cancer, it is also filled with many moments of Natalie’s irresistible humor: how she refers to herself and her partner as the cancer twins when they are diagnosed within months of one another with very different cancers, how she still makes time to savor slowly two scoops of ice cream (butter pecan and coffee) at Mr. Frosty’s after a solitary swim in Abiquiu Lake or how she makes sure to get the twenty percent discount while dining with the friend who drove her to her PET scan. Finally, Natalie’s lush descriptions of landscapes are always a delight to read. This is especially true when she describes New Mexico, an environment she bears witness to with such vividness that it is easy to see why they call this place the Land of Enchantment.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Frank Ostaseski

    I took Natalie Goldberg's Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home with me (which her publisher kindly sent) on a long coastal walk along the bluffs and beaches near Sea Ranch this past weekend. Tried to savor it by reading small bits that I imagined I would digest slowly. But it was too compelling. I had to nestle into the hollow of a rocky cliff, out of the wind, and let her tell me the whole unvarnished story. It was like sitting with her listening through the incalculable particulars of trea I took Natalie Goldberg's Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home with me (which her publisher kindly sent) on a long coastal walk along the bluffs and beaches near Sea Ranch this past weekend. Tried to savor it by reading small bits that I imagined I would digest slowly. But it was too compelling. I had to nestle into the hollow of a rocky cliff, out of the wind, and let her tell me the whole unvarnished story. It was like sitting with her listening through the incalculable particulars of treatments, the panic, the stillness, the tenderhearted relationship, your idiosyncratic way, the insights and ordinariness. An honest, real and sometimes raw meeting with life and death without apology. Brilliant, Natalie. It reminded me of a story Norman Fischer shared about a priests meeting at Green Gulch. One priest, then close to death from a long-term illness broke the quiet, polite exchange about zen practice shouting with a Lion’s Roar “I’M DYING! So many unforgettable moments on the impossibility of daily life with life-threatening illness. Struggling with an iPad keyboard, life in hospitals, the well-meaning but unsolicited advice of friends, mastering medical language like “hypermetabolic activity”, talking to cancer cells, and wanting to die. Thank you also, Natalie, for being so real about your relationship. Writing about offering almond butter packs to Yu-kwan, about refusing her gift of turquoise earrings, and gradually finding a way back to each other. My heart attacks almost destroyed my relationship. I’ve never felt so narcissistic as when I was caught in the struggle to survive. Loved the cemetery visits, a beautiful way to introduce the necessary conversations with the dead and to express Natalie's gratefulness. I was recently in the Cimitero Acattolico in Rome. It's adjacent to the Caio Cedtio pyramid a rather pretentious monument to a single (wealthy) individual. In the cemetery we found a gravestone for an unnamed baby. The inscription read “whose name is written on the water.” Amazing and rare book from Natalie. All the way to the bottom. No part left out.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Allyson

    Goldberg is a master writer and teacher. She touts "watching the way the writer's mind works" as the "way in" to any book a reader encounters. Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home gives readers a beautiful incursion into Goldberg's mind: how she discovers that she has cancer, puts off treatment because she doesn't want cancer to get in the way of her life, how she moves through the different stages of loss and acceptance of the disease, and ultimately, how she survives. Goldberg weaves her s Goldberg is a master writer and teacher. She touts "watching the way the writer's mind works" as the "way in" to any book a reader encounters. Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home gives readers a beautiful incursion into Goldberg's mind: how she discovers that she has cancer, puts off treatment because she doesn't want cancer to get in the way of her life, how she moves through the different stages of loss and acceptance of the disease, and ultimately, how she survives. Goldberg weaves her signature Zen approach into the pages, admitting that initially Zen fails her and she allows fear to take over. Who wouldn't? Her subsequent journey is a rich guide for anyone struggling--with disease or any circumstance beyond their control. Read it and keep it nearby for the next roadblock or insurmountable challenge that plants itself in your path. Thank you Natalie, as always, for sharing your words and your stories with us.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

    I am a huge follower of Natalie Goldberg. I was lucky enough last fall to attend a (virtual) retreat with her and Joan Halifax focused on writing Haiku. I've read Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within several times and always find it inspiring. I also loved Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life, Old Friend from Far Away: How to Write a Memoir, Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer's Craft, and Long Quiet Highway: Waking Up in America. This work is very different than her other I am a huge follower of Natalie Goldberg. I was lucky enough last fall to attend a (virtual) retreat with her and Joan Halifax focused on writing Haiku. I've read Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within several times and always find it inspiring. I also loved Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life, Old Friend from Far Away: How to Write a Memoir, Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer's Craft, and Long Quiet Highway: Waking Up in America. This work is very different than her others. It's her very personal, typically authentic and searingly honest story of her struggle with a very lethal form of cancer. She describes the painful treatments, the anxiety of waiting for results, the severe fatigue as well as the love and support of her many friends. She and her partner Yu-Kwan are not able to be there for each other as her partner developed cancer shortly after Goldberg did and they both had their separate sufferings to endure. The book is moving and totally engrossing. I could not put it down. I felt for her suffering and admired her willingness to share this painful and frightening--and also life-altering experience with us. Thank you Natalie Goldberg.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    I have been a Natalie Goldberg fan for 30 years and have read everything she has written, starting with "Writing Down the Bones" which completely changed my [writing] life in the early 90's. And I have studied with her a few times too, and always enjoyed my time writing and doing walking meditation with her. Like Natalie, I am both a writer and an artist. While I always find something I love in all of her books, I did have the feeling that the last several books were just repeats and blendings o I have been a Natalie Goldberg fan for 30 years and have read everything she has written, starting with "Writing Down the Bones" which completely changed my [writing] life in the early 90's. And I have studied with her a few times too, and always enjoyed my time writing and doing walking meditation with her. Like Natalie, I am both a writer and an artist. While I always find something I love in all of her books, I did have the feeling that the last several books were just repeats and blendings of her earlier writings, with nothing overly unique or new for me. This memoir changed all that. This is by far her most honest, deeply personal, and emotionally touching book yet. The wrenching emotional details of her discovery that cancer was raging throughout her body, and the physical details, decisions and dealings with the medical profession - chemical infusions, scans, drugs, etc. - are terrifying, and she brings it all right up there for all of us to share, and feel, in the simplest of language. Even a life lived with a zen mind does not overcome everything, and her terror and ponderings on death and dying are raw and tangible. This was not an easy book to read, for whom among us, whether we admit it out loud or not, does not have some innate fear of cancer? But her story is ultimately a rejoicing in the preciousness of life, and this topic arrived in my hands at a perfect time in my own life as I too find myself pondering how I want to live the last third or quarter of whatever time is left for me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sunflower

    Great title. Each person's experience of their illness is different and this one is quite different, heavily influenced by her Zen training. The outcome is positive, but I actually enjoyed reading about her partner's story more than hers. And a few days later most of the book has faded from my memory. Sorry. Great title. Each person's experience of their illness is different and this one is quite different, heavily influenced by her Zen training. The outcome is positive, but I actually enjoyed reading about her partner's story more than hers. And a few days later most of the book has faded from my memory. Sorry.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

    I’m sorry to say that this Natalie Goldberg book did not fill me with her usual inspirational writing. Yes, this was her own personal cancer report; however, I kept thinking of all those readers who don’t have such medical connections and “friends in high places” for hope during a time of despair and confusion. This could have been just a personal essay.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    I can’t remember the last time I was so captured by a book. I finished this memoir of Natalie Goldberg’s cancer journey in under 2 days, read it hour after hour; read it in awe, in fascination, in horror, and in hope. Just...Wow! Goldberg, writing guru to thousands upon thousands, manages to illuminate death in life and life in death, for she has both known all along and comes to realize, that the two are inextricable. This is a powerfully disturbing story and a poignantly moving one. I need tim I can’t remember the last time I was so captured by a book. I finished this memoir of Natalie Goldberg’s cancer journey in under 2 days, read it hour after hour; read it in awe, in fascination, in horror, and in hope. Just...Wow! Goldberg, writing guru to thousands upon thousands, manages to illuminate death in life and life in death, for she has both known all along and comes to realize, that the two are inextricable. This is a powerfully disturbing story and a poignantly moving one. I need time to digest and reflect on the lessons it offers and the questions it poses for me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Goldberg moved me with Writing Down the Bones and continues to make her mark on my emotional landscape with her writing in Tricycle, and of course her other books. I appreciated this book for its honesty and rawness. Thank you, Natalie, for continuing to deliver writing that exemplifies the teachings you hold dear.

  10. 4 out of 5

    John Thorndike

    When I was growing up no one mentioned the word cancer. It was never spoken of at the dinner table and rarely named in newspapers as the cause of death. Clearly, there was something shameful about it. Now, as I grow to be a certain age—that is to say, old—people all around me are getting cancer, and many have died of it. Any one of us could be next, and with friends this has become a steady topic of conversation. To put it in the best light, it’s a fascination—and there could not be a more compe When I was growing up no one mentioned the word cancer. It was never spoken of at the dinner table and rarely named in newspapers as the cause of death. Clearly, there was something shameful about it. Now, as I grow to be a certain age—that is to say, old—people all around me are getting cancer, and many have died of it. Any one of us could be next, and with friends this has become a steady topic of conversation. To put it in the best light, it’s a fascination—and there could not be a more compelling book about it than Natalie Goldberg’s latest. Of course she’s going to open up her heart when she tells us the story of her leukemia. She dismisses the shame by describing everything directly, in lucid prose, telling the hard truths and describing some small triumphs of consciousness. Zen is with us always in this book—and it has never been more needed. She writes: “In this moment, I use the truth of death to my advantage, as leverage, an edge into this delicious present.” That present moment is where Natalie always takes us, and why I read all her books.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jillian Doherty

    This is my first Goldberg book, which has encouraged me to go back and read your previous works; her writing well illustrate her thoughtfully emotional journey is much more than a memoir. I loved the parallels of her Jewish upbringing compared to her Buddhist lifestyle. As well as her relationships, beautiful excursions to see where other writers lived, worked and does, and a tumultuous duel cancer battle. She writes like the the quote referenced- how a writer lives their life twice, first in the This is my first Goldberg book, which has encouraged me to go back and read your previous works; her writing well illustrate her thoughtfully emotional journey is much more than a memoir. I loved the parallels of her Jewish upbringing compared to her Buddhist lifestyle. As well as her relationships, beautiful excursions to see where other writers lived, worked and does, and a tumultuous duel cancer battle. She writes like the the quote referenced- how a writer lives their life twice, first in the act then reliving it in the written word. The story is worth reading every chapter, as much as feeling the closure to her memories by the gorgeous sentient blessing at the end.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Boon

    Kind of self-obsessed. And describes a life of such excess (excess travel, excess spirituality, excess teaching, etc.) that I'm not sure this is the same Natalie Goldberg who wrote classics like "Writing Down the Bones." A quick read, but not a hugely insightful one. Kind of self-obsessed. And describes a life of such excess (excess travel, excess spirituality, excess teaching, etc.) that I'm not sure this is the same Natalie Goldberg who wrote classics like "Writing Down the Bones." A quick read, but not a hugely insightful one.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    She is who she is. I gave the one star for...well, cancer...and for WDTB.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sunil

    Overwhelmed There's life in this book which talks of death in very page. In every word, sentence, inflection, tone, tenor there is this overarching need to find something beyond - a meaning, an epiphany, a purpose. To see that nothing goes waste. Natalie revisits the smells, tastes and sights of very food, flower, road and hospital ward she visited. This book is a Zen journey through the senses, even as they start to do - and why it is important to vigorously choose life, even as you let yoursel Overwhelmed There's life in this book which talks of death in very page. In every word, sentence, inflection, tone, tenor there is this overarching need to find something beyond - a meaning, an epiphany, a purpose. To see that nothing goes waste. Natalie revisits the smells, tastes and sights of very food, flower, road and hospital ward she visited. This book is a Zen journey through the senses, even as they start to do - and why it is important to vigorously choose life, even as you let yourself loose on the river of inevitability.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rowe

    If you like Natalie Goldberg, then I can recommend this book because you get more of her love letters to the West and her large group of contemporaries. Whoever wants to write will like this book because she briefly discusses writing and goes on, maybe too long, with allusions to other writers. She makes me want to hike and live in New Mexico. I’m not sure how she makes money besides teaching. She’s not strapped, but deals with some money issues in this memoir. Then, she takes hiking trips in th If you like Natalie Goldberg, then I can recommend this book because you get more of her love letters to the West and her large group of contemporaries. Whoever wants to write will like this book because she briefly discusses writing and goes on, maybe too long, with allusions to other writers. She makes me want to hike and live in New Mexico. I’m not sure how she makes money besides teaching. She’s not strapped, but deals with some money issues in this memoir. Then, she takes hiking trips in the UK. Who knows? I think you get answers to Goldberg’s personal life in this memoir, but you also get it in BANANA ROSE, which is longer and more fun to read. I met Nat Goldberg in 2013, and felt like she was a little bitchy in real life. Turns out she was fighting cancer: “I couldn’t face my own sickness and death, and as a result I became scratcher, tighter, more agitated in some cellular unconscious way.” You never know what another person suffers in her life, so don’t take offense.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Robin Dalton

    I devoured this book in two days. I have breast cancer and am in the middle of cancer treatment. In fact, I started in the chemotherapy centre. So this book had a special relevance to me. However, I’ve been a huge fan of Natalie Goldberg since the early 90s. She always writes from her heart but there is a raw vulnerability in this one, such honesty, spirit, and poetry. It fed my spirit. I may need to start from the beginning and read it again.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sawnie Morris

    Finished reading Natalie Goldberg’s Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home late last night. Who’d have ever thought a cancer memoir could be a page-turner? And one that brought me to tears, twice. This book is going to mean much to many. Aside from the story – Natalie Goldberg’s story – there is the clipped to-the-point writing itself and the organization of the book, which is brilliant. Seamlessly inserted midway through is a second story, that of Goldberg’s beloved Yu-Kwan. The elegance and Finished reading Natalie Goldberg’s Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home late last night. Who’d have ever thought a cancer memoir could be a page-turner? And one that brought me to tears, twice. This book is going to mean much to many. Aside from the story – Natalie Goldberg’s story – there is the clipped to-the-point writing itself and the organization of the book, which is brilliant. Seamlessly inserted midway through is a second story, that of Goldberg’s beloved Yu-Kwan. The elegance and care in Goldberg’s delivery of Yu-Kwan’s story speaks volumes – no drama – and gives the reader cause to care about and admire this person who is also suffering yet not at center stage. The balance between Yu-Kwan’s calm determination in the face of cancer, and Goldberg’s raging ferocity and determination in the face of her own could not be more perfect. The personalities are so complexly drawn – each “character” drawing on traits and tactics in wrestling with cancer that had served not only their survival as children and young adults, but their flourishing in their adult lives prior to the cancer. The pieces are woven together with the precision of a haiku that manages —because of its lightning focus – “no part left out.” It’s masterfully done. A tour de force. Human anguish and struggle, but no self-pity. Brava, Natalie Goldberg!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Thais Mather

    No

  19. 4 out of 5

    Darcé

    I read this book shortly after reading The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs. Compared with the stunning writing and the absolute lack of self-pity in The Bright Hour, Goldberg’s memoir of her cancer diagnosis and treatment left me feeling disappointed. It's probably unfair, but I expected all those years of Zen training to ground her during this experience. Instead, I was surprised by how self-absorbed and unreflective Goldberg seemed. Her reaction to learning that her partner, Yu-kwan, also had cancer I read this book shortly after reading The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs. Compared with the stunning writing and the absolute lack of self-pity in The Bright Hour, Goldberg’s memoir of her cancer diagnosis and treatment left me feeling disappointed. It's probably unfair, but I expected all those years of Zen training to ground her during this experience. Instead, I was surprised by how self-absorbed and unreflective Goldberg seemed. Her reaction to learning that her partner, Yu-kwan, also had cancer (“Great. Now my girlfriend might have cancer.” I kicked over a book on the low table. “Who’s going to take care of me?” pg. 66) made me wish I’d never glimpsed that side of her personality.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shahd Thani

    I’ve read Natalie Goldberg since I was 14 when I made a concious decision to be a writer. I’ve reread her craft books so many times. Reading this was so emotional for me. Natalie Goldberg was always larger than life. Immortal. To flip through pages and find her so vulnerable hit me hard. Throughout ths book, Natalie Goldberg pays her respects to the writers that shaped her and I wonder if she’ll ever know how much she shaped me. How her writing practice made me who I am and how much I think of he I’ve read Natalie Goldberg since I was 14 when I made a concious decision to be a writer. I’ve reread her craft books so many times. Reading this was so emotional for me. Natalie Goldberg was always larger than life. Immortal. To flip through pages and find her so vulnerable hit me hard. Throughout ths book, Natalie Goldberg pays her respects to the writers that shaped her and I wonder if she’ll ever know how much she shaped me. How her writing practice made me who I am and how much I think of her whenever I feel the words escape me.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sabena

    This memoir by one of the most well-known, well-published writing teachers in the US is an intimate portrait of the author's journey from cancer diagnosis at age sixty-six through treatment and through her return to health. Along the way, she shares some surprising details about her relationships with others while living life with a devastating illness. I think I wanted this long-time Zen meditation practitioner to handle her health crisis with greater equanimity and show more kindness to those This memoir by one of the most well-known, well-published writing teachers in the US is an intimate portrait of the author's journey from cancer diagnosis at age sixty-six through treatment and through her return to health. Along the way, she shares some surprising details about her relationships with others while living life with a devastating illness. I think I wanted this long-time Zen meditation practitioner to handle her health crisis with greater equanimity and show more kindness to those around her. Turns out, she's just as human as the rest of us.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Christine Corrigan

    I read this book in less than a day. It is exquisitely written and gives a profound insight into the suffering that is cancer and cancer treatment. I'm a two-time cancer survivor, and her words cut me to the bone because they were real, true and mirrored many of my own experiences. This book was a gift to read. I read this book in less than a day. It is exquisitely written and gives a profound insight into the suffering that is cancer and cancer treatment. I'm a two-time cancer survivor, and her words cut me to the bone because they were real, true and mirrored many of my own experiences. This book was a gift to read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Louden

    I love the way Natalie writes and this book is no exception. I adored the story about her girlfriend. However, her story as a whole didn't rise to the level of the universal for me. Still happy to read it and so glad she is cancer free. I love the way Natalie writes and this book is no exception. I adored the story about her girlfriend. However, her story as a whole didn't rise to the level of the universal for me. Still happy to read it and so glad she is cancer free.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cristie Underwood

    An amazing memoir that demonstrated how a positive attitude can have an impact on cancer. I love how the author used the title of this book throughout it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathie Giorgio

    Last summer, I experienced Grade 2 breast cancer. A year later, I'm still feeling its effects. When I heard that Natalie Goldberg wrote a book about her own experience with cancer, I was jarred. Goldberg is the writer's guru - I've taught her, quoted her, lived her, used her as an example. And now she had cancer too. The book is a stunner. It's blunt and open and honest. The emotions are there, and when the emotions are shut down, that's there too. The questions, the doubts, the answers that seem Last summer, I experienced Grade 2 breast cancer. A year later, I'm still feeling its effects. When I heard that Natalie Goldberg wrote a book about her own experience with cancer, I was jarred. Goldberg is the writer's guru - I've taught her, quoted her, lived her, used her as an example. And now she had cancer too. The book is a stunner. It's blunt and open and honest. The emotions are there, and when the emotions are shut down, that's there too. The questions, the doubts, the answers that seemed stable but then vanish in thin air - it's all there. I had to set down the book several times, take a deep breath, then go back in. So be warned if you are a cancer patient or a cancer survivor - this will dredge up those hard times. To me, one of the most stunning moments was when Natalie, well known for meditation, for walking in circles, for being earthy, says, "My friendly attempts at relationship with cancer was absurd. Cancer cells won't leave on their own. Most every friend who had cancer and did only alternative medicine is now dead...I had to enter the strange industrial cancer world. The big machines, the sterile rooms, the multimillion-dollar research. I knew I had to do this. I wanted to survive. I wanted my best chance." Coming from someone like Natalie Goldberg, that says so much. And I was right there with her. There really was only one thing that disturbed me, and it really has nothing to do with the writing. The writing is stellar, conversational, friendly. But whenever Natalie asks who the best doctor is in the field that she needs, she's told, and then she's told she'll never get an appointment, he or she is booked so far in advance. Natalie says she's good at "focused action", and in the end, she gets these appointments within days. But she's not quite honest here. It's not done through "focused action". It's accomplished because she's Natalie Goldberg and she has connections and her connections have connections. Most of us, just people on the street who get cancer, don't have those connections. We have to either make do with the lesser known doctors or we have to wait and wait and wait to get in to those doctors. Yet Natalie never acknowledges this. She is privileged. And the privileged get quality healthcare, at their demand. If she would have acknowledged that privilege, I wouldn't be as put off. But I can't help but wonder who she displaced on the waiting list to see these doctors. I still gave it 5 stars, as the writing is lovely. I don't rate according to my own personal reactions to things. The book is worth the read. But I did really have trouble looking past that point.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne

    I used to really like Natalie Goldberg's work. I don't recall what turned me off to her, so when I saw a used copy of this memoir for $3, I thought it was worth reading. I was mistaken. To me, Goldberg comes across as so entitled and privileged and emotionally closed, that I had a hard time feeling much sympathy for her even though the book is about how she and her girlfriend went through breast cancer treatment simultaneously. Just one example of how I saw her as privileged: When she wanted to s I used to really like Natalie Goldberg's work. I don't recall what turned me off to her, so when I saw a used copy of this memoir for $3, I thought it was worth reading. I was mistaken. To me, Goldberg comes across as so entitled and privileged and emotionally closed, that I had a hard time feeling much sympathy for her even though the book is about how she and her girlfriend went through breast cancer treatment simultaneously. Just one example of how I saw her as privileged: When she wanted to see a doctor who was doing an experimental treatment that she wanted to try, but she couldn't get an appointment, she contacted numerous people to see who might have an "in" with the doctor. Eventually, someone came through (Goldberg never found out who) and she got her appointment. In a country where soooo many people are uninsured, or under-insured, it rubbed me the wrong way that she felt entitled to do this. Then, after seeing the doc, she decided to not go forward with this particular treatment. I plan to go back to some of her early work, and see if I still like who she was then.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    I had a strong emotional response to this book, I'm sure in part because of the subject matter of cancer and mortality, but also because of the nature of Goldberg's relationship with her girlfriend. I think she was quite honest and authentic in representing the aspects of the relationship, but I struggled to understand the distance that seemed to be a part of it. Also a disclaimer: After reading several books by Goldberg in the 1980s and thoroughly enjoying them, I went to a week-long workshop l I had a strong emotional response to this book, I'm sure in part because of the subject matter of cancer and mortality, but also because of the nature of Goldberg's relationship with her girlfriend. I think she was quite honest and authentic in representing the aspects of the relationship, but I struggled to understand the distance that seemed to be a part of it. Also a disclaimer: After reading several books by Goldberg in the 1980s and thoroughly enjoying them, I went to a week-long workshop lead by her. I definitely got more from her assistants and my fellow workshoppers than I did for her. She seemed to gather an elite group of attendees around her and was not particularly encouraging or warm with the majority of the group. I know this is my own personal need and not necessarily a flaw in her teaching, especially since her books continue to be sources of creativity for me. However, I think that workshop colors my ongoing perspective of her style and perhaps made me see distance in this memoir that wasn't actually there.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    If the last time you read Natalie Goldberg was her writing book Writing Down the Bones then you are missing what decades of writing, observing, and zen practice have given her and she in turn gives us the reader. This book is her memoir of the time she was diagnosed with cancer. In it she describes not only the progression of the disease and how she reacted, but her observations on how her perspective changed about the world, her place in it, art, and the acknowledgment of impermanence. She also If the last time you read Natalie Goldberg was her writing book Writing Down the Bones then you are missing what decades of writing, observing, and zen practice have given her and she in turn gives us the reader. This book is her memoir of the time she was diagnosed with cancer. In it she describes not only the progression of the disease and how she reacted, but her observations on how her perspective changed about the world, her place in it, art, and the acknowledgment of impermanence. She also gives interludes to other artists who have died and left a bit of their knowledge behind and her feeling of gratitude. It is a beautiful book that is on a difficult subject, but handled very well. I am truly grateful for it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    One

    I've read numerous books by Natalie and always enjoy them. She has a beautiful writing style. Her work always keeps me interested and looking forward to the next page and chapter. When I ordered this book I had no idea what it was about. I just saw she had a new book out and new I liked her writing, so I added it to my cart. I only learned she had cancer when reading this book about her battle with it. I really enjoyed the book, her take on battling cancer, learning about her girlfriend, and of I've read numerous books by Natalie and always enjoy them. She has a beautiful writing style. Her work always keeps me interested and looking forward to the next page and chapter. When I ordered this book I had no idea what it was about. I just saw she had a new book out and new I liked her writing, so I added it to my cart. I only learned she had cancer when reading this book about her battle with it. I really enjoyed the book, her take on battling cancer, learning about her girlfriend, and of her explorations near home and abroad. Two thumbs up for another book well done!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    3.5 stars. Something about this book left me wanting, and even after sleeping on it I’m not sure what it is, exactly. It took me a bit to get into it, but I gave it more time and did get sucked in. But when I closed it after reading the last page I wanted more, and not in that “this was amazing I’m so sad it’s over” way. Perhaps this was a marketing problem — this was more about Goldberg than the “cancer twins” than I expected. Overall a good read and good writing. Maybe my expectations were too 3.5 stars. Something about this book left me wanting, and even after sleeping on it I’m not sure what it is, exactly. It took me a bit to get into it, but I gave it more time and did get sucked in. But when I closed it after reading the last page I wanted more, and not in that “this was amazing I’m so sad it’s over” way. Perhaps this was a marketing problem — this was more about Goldberg than the “cancer twins” than I expected. Overall a good read and good writing. Maybe my expectations were too high.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.