Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Foremost Good Fortune

When I first started blogging for the Des Moines Register several years ago, I had the bright idea that just as we celebrate March Madness in college basketball, I could blog during the month of March solely on memoirs, calling my month of reading Memoir Madness. Well, I never really got around to organizing my reading well enough then. I still haven't, but as I am looking over the books I have read this month, there does seem to be a memoir theme what I am choosing to read.

The Foremost Good Fortune by Susan Conley is Conley's account of the two years she and her family spent in Beijing, China. Conley is just a few years older than I am, and as I was reading I felt as though I would like to invite her over for a cup of coffee. She writes about mothering her sons, about trying to find friendships in a strange and foreign country, about feeling lonely, and finally, about her battle with breast cancer. I didn't know this was going to be a book about cancer- and it truly is not only about that- but I could relate to Conley's feelings about her cancer diagnosis and how it affected her. Not as a cancer survivor myself, but as the mother of a child who had cancer. At first Conley writes more matter of factly about her diagnosis and treatment. Yet, there are various references to her ability to come to grips with what has happened to her that suggest that there is much more to battling breast cancer than just the logistics of treatment. While I will probably never visit China, I am always interested in other cultures, and found all of Conley's accounts about life in Beijing very interesting as well.

The back flap of The Foremost Good Fortune states that Conley is working on a novel, which I am looking forward to reading already.

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