Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Blog Tour - Chemo on the Rocks

Chemo on the Rocks: My Great Alaskan Misadventure by Rebecca Durkin
Publisher: Christine F. Anderson Publishing & Media
Publish Date: 9/25/14
Genre: Memoir

My Rating:

About the Author

Rebecca Durkin, author of Chemo on the Rocks: My Great Alaskan Misadventure and her short story, Behind the Smile, is known for her candor and sense of humor.

Rebecca is a featured speaker/creative trainer for an annual women’s retreat in California, where she shares her experiences and provides writing ideas. She is also a volunteer for the Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women's Lives ® program for the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

Rebecca spent the majority of her life living on the edge of the shore, first on Whidbey Island, Washington and then in rainy Ketchikan, Alaska where she lived a waterlogged existence for almost thirty years.  She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest where she enjoys road trips with her husband, hanging with her adult children, playing with her three Bichons—Scuppers, Scuttles, and Teeny Booty—and finding the humor in everyday life.

About the Book

Chemo on the Rocks is a shoreside seat on Rebecca (Becky) Durkin’s great Alaskan misadventure. It highlights the hilarity and heartache of a young girl who finds herself marooned in Ketchikan—fondly known as "The Rock"—where she remains on her self-imposed Alaskatraz for almost thirty years.

Chemo on the Rocks is witty, inspirational, satirical, and sometimes terrifying. It is a mix of pain and laughter as Becky walks the IV gauntlet, trailing behind the unfettered back end peeking through the drab hospital gown of the man shuffling before her.  Chemo on the Rocks is a hard-fought battle in the fallopian trenches where Becky wages war on ovarian cancer—the ultimate wedding crasher—as it invites an entire medical team into her honeymoon suite.  She slays the cancer dragon and has two children in defiance of the beast, but just when it seems life has returned to normalcy, she prematurely crashes onto Mount Hysteria and wanders aimlessly through the Hormone War Zone in the Land of the Ovary Snatchers.

Everything about having chemo on the rock was made more difficult by Becky’s fears of boating and flying—the only escape from the island—which became more terrifying with each trip to Seattle for surgery or testing. Chemo on the Rocks showcases the many parallels between sea adventures and cancer adventures, such as doldrums while awaiting diagnosis, the skull and cross bones of chemo, the bitter end of a failed marriage, tying the knot of another, listing dangerously, and perhaps a return to navigable waters. 


I've never read a book that tells a real-life story quite like this one. Since Chemo on the Rocks deals with the serious and tragic story of cancer, I fully expected the book to be an inspirational downer. Boy was I wrong. Becky's sense of humor and drive to fight for her own life made this story breeze by. The lighter tone really helped because it takes you through some really dark, tough times and gives you a heavy dose of reality.

I found that I had to remind myself that this was a real story, written by the person who lived it and that the people in the story were real too, not characters. I had a tough time dealing with Becky and Mike's marriage. I got upset at the way Mike handled the entire situation and was angry that he needed support from Becky when he knew she couldn't provide it. When you look at it a second time though, this is EXACTLY real life, right there in black and white. Life is not fair, people's emotions and reactions to situations are not fair and we just trudge on the best we can.

If you need a story to put some things in life into perspective, then go read this book. Everyone deals with tough things and everyone's tough things are tough to them. When you read about someone's journey and struggles through a fight as massive as the one with cancer, it makes you think. No matter how bad you think things are in your life, they could be a whole lot worse. And, even if they are the worst, the human spirit is an amazing thing that is capable of a lot more than you might imagine. Becky's story captures that essence beautifully.

Pair This With

If you've been following along with me on this blog at all, you know that my favorite wines come from the Rioja region of Spain - particularly Tempranillo and Garancha varietals. The title of this book inspired me to pair it with a yummy sangria ON THE ROCKS of course! While homemade sangria is the best, sometimes you just want something quick, easy and ready to pour. Real Sangria is my favorite go-to bottled sangria. It is a fruity Spanish sangria comprised mostly of, you guessed it, Tempranillo and Garancha grapes. It's light, slightly citrusy and delicious over ice.

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