Cover Image: No Cure for Being Human

No Cure for Being Human

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

A very personal account of a diagnosis of stage four bowel cancer and the unintended effects this has on your perception of life, love, survival, death, motherhood, work and all the elements in between. 

It is hard not to be moved by personal stories as they mean so much to the author. That being said I do think the chapters did not always follow a logical order and this detracted from the impact of this book.
Was this review helpful?
I feel like this book is more needed than many of us would like to admit. It's frank, moving, and wise. I think everyone can relate to their life being suddenly put on hold. At least, I can, so this book was very timely for me. Thank you, Kate Bowler, and thanks to the publisher for this ARC! I highly recommend it!
Was this review helpful?
Kate Bowler's book takes the reader through the ups and downs of a life lived with incurable cancer. I found it an interesting read over all, but it also seemed to jump a bit from place to place and I didn't think the purpose of each chapter or musing was always clear.

But Kate Bowler has a lightness of touch when dealing with difficult and, at times, deeply personal things. I sometimes listen to Kate's podcast in which she also touches on life's challenges in a open and honest way. If you want to be able to spend some time thinking about the harder things of life, but in a hopeful way then I would recommend this book.
Was this review helpful?
An honest, realistic, humorous and heart felt look at life with a terminal cancer diagnosis. Great insights on how to deal with your own mortality and the impact this has on your friends and family. A sharp and thought provoking read that I would recommend to others.
Was this review helpful?
Hands down one of the best, most heartfelt memoirs I have ever read. I am in awe of Kate’s strength and courage not only in telling her story in a book, but also in accepting death and living everyday with a thought that it might be her last. The smart insights and witty remarks make this heartbreaking story this much lighter. I would highly recommend this memoir to anyone looking for motivation to do the things they always have been putting off to “later”. 
I would like to thank Penguin Random House for providing a free electronic copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This book at the beginning had moments where I enjoyed reading it, but sadly they were few and far between with the book being too all over the place for me.  I rarely cannot finish a book but towards the end of this book I found I wasn't even interested anymore in finding out how it ended, so gave up.  Quite a few religious bits to the book too which I didn't enjoy and the way the writer wrote about the doctors seemed very odd as they all sounded like they had no idea what they were doing.
Was this review helpful?
This is a memoir written by Kate Bowler who, at 35, was happily married to a husband she loves, with a toddler she adores and a successful career as an associate Professor at Duke Divinity School.  However, after a long period of feeling ill and demanding she is taken seriously and that scans are done, she is diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.  

This memoir is honest and heart-wrenching, with Kate swinging between despair and hopelessness to strength and fight, which is totally understanding when she details everything she goes through, the failings of the health system and the love and support of her family and friends.

It’s difficult to say too much without giving too much away - this is a relatively short book and is quick to get through.  However, I recommend it for anyone - whether they have experienced significant illness or loss within their lives or not.

Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.
Was this review helpful?
A must read for anyone whose life has suddenly changed. I know it’s happened to me. Reading this book was thought provoking.
Was this review helpful?
My Shelf Awareness review: In her bittersweet second memoir, a religion professor finds the joys and ironies in a life overshadowed by advanced cancer.

When Kate Bowler, an associate professor at Duke Divinity School, was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer at age 35, her chances of surviving two years were just 14%. In her wry, touching follow-up to her 2018 memoir Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I’ve Loved) and its associated podcast, she continues to combat unhelpful religious/self-help mantras as she ponders what to do with the extra time medical breakthroughs have given her.

After multiple surgeries, a promising immunotherapy drug trial gave Bowler hope that she would live to see her 40th birthday and her young son starting kindergarten. Working on her bucket list, she found that small moments outshined large events: on a trip to the Grand Canyon, what stood out was a chapel in the ponderosa pinewoods where she added a prayer to those plastering the walls. In the Church calendar, “Ordinary Time” is where most of life plays out, so she encourages readers to live in an “eternal present.”

The chapters function like stand-alone essays, some titled after particular truisms (like “You Only Live Once”). The book’s bittersweet tone finds the humor as well as the tragedy in a cancer diagnosis. Witty recreated dialogue and poignant scenes show the type-A author learning to let go: “I am probably replaceable,” she acknowledges, but here in the shadow of death “the mundane has begun to sparkle.” These dispatches from the “lumpy middle” of life and faith are especially recommended to fans of Anne Lamott. (3.5 stars)
Was this review helpful?
Brave, honest and inspiring

Doctors tell us that half of us will get cancer in our lives but no-one wants to be told that they have the disease. None of us can know how we’ll react to such a diagnosis and Kate pulls no punches in sharing her diagnosis and story with us. 

Kate is open, honest and brave about her experience and feelings to the benefit of us all. But the most important point she fully embodies is where there’s life there’s hope. Kate shows the importance of positive thinking and perseverance in the darkest of times.

Her book is well worth reading and is interesting and useful on many levels. Reading how she coped and responded can help us all to deal with cancer, whether it’s our own personal battles or to help us understand and support loved ones dealing with it. Whether we’re dealing with cancer on a personal level or just interested in her story Kate reminds us that life is precious and we should live each day to the full.
Was this review helpful?
No Cure for Being Human  is a journey through one woman’s cancer. The ups, the downs, the misleads, the false hopes and the final outlook. This book is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a rollercoaster of highs and lows and Kate takes you right along on the journey. In tears at times, I put it down, intending never to pick it up again, only to find that I was hooked and just had to find out what happened next. 
It’s not an easy read; on such a serious subject, it couldn’t be and with Kate’s in-depth descriptions on treatment and diagnosis, it makes everything even more vivid. A plethora of medical terms are spattered throughout the book, which makes it even more profound and the reader is left in no doubt that whilst the  story is shared with an audience, the journey is hers and hers alone.
Was this review helpful?
Kate Bowler tells her story interwoven with various truths of the human condition. Naming the fact that we are all facing this incurable condition of life, one wherein no one escapes alive. There is never enough time. And that is the simple beauty of the experience. 

I read the book rapidly, at first wondering if it would end in her tragic death but gradually realising this was a story of survival.. As a nurse who has worked in a variety of areas such as Accident and Emergency, Palliative care and most recently, Intensive care, this book resonated well with me. 

This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.
Was this review helpful?
This book is intelligently written and deeply personal.  I felt that I was partly intruding but also listening to a friend.  Kate's story is instantly tragic, she is an academic with a husband and baby and a life that is full of potential.  I admire that the author doesn't fall into a melting pot of self-pity, one that would be understandable! but instead, she is pragmatic and proactive.  

Experiencing something so difficult through someone else's words made me think of my own mortality and that of my family.  It also made me question our priorities, this fear of getting old, having a few wrinkles, carrying a few pounds, all so trivial and meaningless when we consider the alternative.  It made me remember my cousin who died at 16, he never had a girlfriend, or got a job or had children, all the things he wanted to do. So, who am I to complain about anything. I still have the potential of experience, and regardless of whether life is good or difficult, I am here, I have opportunities he never will. 

This book left me with understanding and empathy for her situation and appreciation for my own.  I believe a good book asks its reader questions, invokes a response and challenges perceptions.  Kate does all that.
Was this review helpful?
What a rollercoaster of a book. Inspirational with an underlying sadness when faced with cancer. When Kate is diagnosed at 35 with incurable colon cancer she faces her life head on. Now facing a limited life in a world where we are told we can achieve anything. She understandably feels vulnerable but her humour manages to carry her through. I am so glad that I was given the chance to read this. Appreciate what you have before it is too late.
Was this review helpful?
I persevered with this as long as I could as I felt I should carry on reading it but after about a third of the way into it I decided life’s too short to read a book and not enjoy it.
Was this review helpful?
An interesting book, but I'm not sure that I would particularly recommend it.  It didn't seem to be saying anything new, and I didn't really warm to the author.
Was this review helpful?
Such an insightful read. Would highly recommend No Cure for Being Human to anyone.
Beautiful book and delightful to read.
Was this review helpful?
A painfully honest account of a life altering diagnosis. Compelling in its truth. No one can understand how it feels to be in the situation but you feel that you are there by Kates side. Willing her onwards and wanting to give her a hug.
Was this review helpful?
A heartfelt and unapologetically honest examination of what it means to be human. This is another book I received through NetGalley, which means I got to read it ahead of its September's publication date. I was sceptical when I saw the title, but I got really intrigued as it was endorsed by Adam Grant and Glennon Doyle. I've read quite a few self-help books although I found myself struggling with some of the overly positive undertones, and I have never been a fan of excessive positivity, so when I saw the premise of this book, I thought I'd give it go. And I'm so glad I did. It's hopeful, it’s inspiring, it's filled with wisdom, and most importantly, Kate Bowler goes real deep on what it means to live when things feel rather impossible.⁣
⁣
Within the book, Bowler tells her own story of being diagnosed with stage IV cancer when she was only 35 years old, and what she had to do and reflect on afterwards in terms of her way of living. A can-do attitude could no longer save her from her cancer, yet the world she's living in was all about "anything is possible". Still is, sadly. There are many things she writes about in her beautiful narrative that made me pause and reflect. Like the ones below.⁣
⁣
“Today will be as ordinary as yesterday, days and weeks working out the consequences of the moments that came before. We like to imagine that we are starring in an extended morality play where lessons are learned and the hero never dies. But, in fact, we must make do with the fact that there will be weddings and funerals again this year, and everyone will still spend most of their evenings watching Netflix. ⁣
⁣
This is a kind of freedom. The only question is how we should live under the burden of it.”⁣
⁣
It made reflect on just how much we can actually prepare ourselves to face circumstances like that. And what a courageous person she is.
Was this review helpful?
No Cure for Being Human is an excellent read.   It is a tear jerker, it is funny, it is reflective, it is challenging and it is ever so realistic.   Once I started reading it, I was totally hooked.  I could not put it down.  While it deals with the really serious matter of a terminal illness, is funny and ever so alive.    Kate’s words I’ have so much work to get done’ as she travels through her illness is an indication of her courage and determination to be well.  Yet she admits that what keeps her going are her family, her friends and her community.  Throughout the book we are reminded of cliches we hear and the truths we need.  Pain is described as a narrow gate and there is a lens on the new economy of scarcity that skips arguments.   Kate is reminded that her best work is yet to come.  In her own words she  says she ‘never felt more alive, more determined, never felt more determined, never knew what really matters, than when she learnt to live each day’.  She was able to honour the promise to those who had gone before by living with a feeling of purpose, leaving room for growth  and living her life with courage.    We are often trapped between a past we can’t return to and a future that is uncertain.  It takes  guts to live in this place and look forward without hedging our bets too much, living in the space between anticipation and realisation.  We are never done, even when we’re done.  As life is unpredictable, we learn to face uncertainty with courage, toggling between the past, the present and the future.   Facing the past is part of facing the future. . We learn about people who have learned from difficult time and we come to understand why it is so hard to speak frankly about suffering.   A book of hope and fortitude this is a must read.
Was this review helpful?