13 August 2010

Contemporary Book Review – Bibliotherapy (Cancer)

Crossing Oceans

By Gina Holmes

Published 2010 by Tyndale


This book is going to be a classic not only for use in bibliotherapy with cancer patients' families but because of the literary quality of Ms. Holmes' writing. The book is written in first person, which is extremely effective. Jenny is a young woman with terminal cancer who must come home to North Carolina and begin the transition for her daughter to a life after she is gone. Jenny has more than a few significant issues to resolve. For those who scoff at the idea of someone not knowing he had a child, I actually had a psychotherapy case like this where the father had never met his young daughter and I had the privilege of helping them start the process of getting to know each other. You will be laughing out loud at the very funny Jenny even as you are sad to know she is dying and will be getting much worse very soon. My own mother had cancer when I was twelve, but survived. She contracted cancer again last year and passed away, rather suddenly as we were told she was to begin chemotherapy, and died in June. I am so glad I read this book prior to my mom getting so very ill so fast at the end. Although I thought I had dealt with what cancer means, I really had not because my mother recovered the first time. Ms. Holmes takes you through the nitty gritty of end stage cancer for which I am grateful. This is an excellent bibliotherapy book for those dealing with cancer in their family, particularly terminal cancer. There is one group I would caution against reading this until they are stable – persons who are diagnosed with major depression. While this is an excellent read, well written, and witty, it is dealing with a very serious subject and SPOILER ALERT while it may not surprise most readers, there is no miraculous cure at the end and thus is not going to give a feel good ending and could trigger further depressed mood. For most other clients, this would be a good read to help process grief.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Carrie, for sharing this book. I lost my grandma who I adored when I was a young child and my Mom & M-I-L all to the big C. This book brought back all kinds of memories for me - good & bad. And at the same time, so many biblical verses & words from hymns came to memory as I got further into the book. I took from it so many resemblances from The Lords Prayer & Psalms 23 that it was very healing and comforting.

    Although Jenny has Cancer in this book, it didn't focus as much on cancer, but more about LIVING and being a catalyst for change in your life while leaving your mark that you exist. Even the simplest life can have a remarkable affect on another's life for today and years to come.

    This book had me in tears in one chapter and then brings you out of the tears to laughter in the next. Even though you pretty much can figure out the ending, you don't want to miss the challenges and how each one is handled by the characters. Jenny & Isabella are strong characters - catalysts for change for the families they touch. As the end nears, you see changes & healing in each character. It also creates a peaceful, comforting end which one can only hope finds when life's journey ends.

    Death is inevitable for each of us; its the journey & faith along the way that matters.


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