Length: 394 pages
Publisher: Build Your BLISSS (October 15, 2019)
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir
Buy On: Amazon
Adrienne Wilson is a depressed, suicidal teenager–until the day she receives a diagnosis of stage IV liver cancer. Facing the fight of her life, Adrienne discovers how much she wants to live. In Better Off Bald: A Life in 147 Days, Andrea Wilson Woods chronicles her sister’s remarkable life, from the time she was born to the day she dies at age fifteen. Written like a journal, Andrea takes the reader inside her and Adrienne’s journey explaining how she gained custody of Adrienne from their mother and how the sisters’ relationship evolved over time. Adrienne’s courageous spirit shines through as she squeezes more life into 147 days than most people do in a lifetime. From meeting Jay Leno to spending the day with Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction, Adrienne makes every moment count.As she lay dying, Adrienne teaches Andrea how to live.
Cancer stories are always so hard for me to read, because it is so devastating for me, to read how helpless people are when they go through such an almost incurable disease. “Better Off Bald” was no different.
However, Adrienne fought the cancer with such a determination and bravery, that her story was also encouraging to read. She had more courage when she was sick and dyeing then most strong and healthy people have.
I had a hard time read parts of the book because Adrienne was so brave and optimistic during the toughest of times, that it made me realize just how much I have to work on.
I don’t mean to make this review about me, I am just trying so hard to let you know how strong and brave this girl was. I just cant imagine what it was like to go through it.
Better Off Bald was not just a story of an amazing life and cancer journey, but also a story of true love and devotion. I have never seen so much love and devotion between two sisters then Adrienne and her older sister Andrea.
Andrea stepped up to the plate and took on the role of Adrienne’s mother who had failed to take true care of her. Andrea loved Adrienne and encouraged her to be her–and nobody else.
Andrea showed Adrienne what true love between a mother and daughter should look like. She also showed her what true love between sisters is like.
Even throughout Adrienne’s entire cancer journey, Andrea stood beside her like a rock. She stayed through so many sleepless nights at the hospital, meticulously learned how to administer the meds so that Adrienne could suffer at home instead of a clinic, and just altogether made Adrienne know she was loved.
I do not think a sister could love her fellow sister more than Andrea loved her sister Adrienne. Just from reading the book I could tell Adrienne left this world with her heart as full as her life.
Adrienne is such an example of what strong and brave really is. And Andrea is a perfect example of how powerful love is.
Better Off Bald is such an incredibly amazing uet tragic story, and I hope I showed just a little bit of how much it meant to me.
If I could be just a fraction as brave as Adrienne was, and be able to love just a fraction of the amount Andrea did, I would be content.
About the Author:
ANDREA WILSON WOODS is a writer who loves to tell stories, and a patient advocate who founded the nonprofit Blue Faery: The Adrienne Wilson Liver Cancer Association. Andrea is the CEO and co-founder of Cancer University, a for-profit, social benefit, digital health company. With Cancer U, Andrea synergizes her talents of coaching, writing, teaching, and advocacy. For over ten years, Andrea worked in the education field as a teacher and professor for public and private schools as well as universities. Andrea obtained her master’s degree in professional writing from the University of Southern California; her nonfiction writing has won national awards.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? Write more often. Write every day. Write for yourself.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? It hasn’t. At all. What people don’t tell you is that writing like training for an ultra marathon. The marathon isn’t over when your book is finished. The marathon begins the day your book is published.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? Investing in my education which connected me to terrific mentors.
What does literary success look like to you? If someone comes up to me 10, 15, 25 years from now and tells me my book has made a positive impact on their lives, then I consider myself successful–not that I would turn down a Pulitzer. 😉
How many hours a day do you write? Right now, not nearly enough. Even when I’m not working on a new project, I journal every day. When I’m working on a book, I aim for 1500 words a day.
What period of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult) Hmm … probably adulthood though our childhood shapes our experiences.
What is your most unusual writing quirk? When I’m on a deadline, I reward and punish myself for meeting or not meeting my word count respectively. When I didn’t make my self-imposed deadline for the first draft of my book, I punished myself by contributing to Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign. I wrote a note explaining why I was giving money asking them to never contact me again. They never did!
What is the funniest typo you’ve ever written? When I’m really tired, I forget how to spell the simplest of words like the. (Seriously.)
When did you first start writing? I wrote a book in first grade about a little girl with a cat. I think it was part of a school project. I’m sure the book was awful!
What’s next for you? I have several other memoirs about other periods in my life, but they are on hold until I get my health tech startup Cancer University (https://cancer.university) off the ground and running smoothly.