Robin Roberts is a host on Good Morning America. Back in the late 00's, she revealed on air that she had breast cancer. After a tough tumble, she fought it; but in 2012, she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).
DNF at 153 pages.
I should have done way more research before snapping this book off the best-sellers discount shelf at Barnes and Nobles. I love to read books from people of all walks of life, so when I saw Robin's smiling face on the cover, I felt compelled to pick it up. I thought it would be more about her journey in life, from childhood to career to her illness. Not being a TV person or a sports person, I had never heard of Robin Roberts before, so I didn't have any emotional connection to her.
Color me disappointed when I found out that A) this book was mostly about her life after 2012, B) the writing was terrible, and C) the book focused mostly on her disease, a "you can do it" type of book.
Let me talk first about the writing, as that is more objective. The writing is pretty awful. I'm astonished that there were two authors, that this got past an editor's desk. It's plain, it's juvenile, it's unsure whether to be comfy and personable or professional and erudite. It wobbles back and forth in time; it lurches from paragraph to paragraph. The sentence structure is nearly all the same, subject-verb case, which makes for a boring read. And really, I don't feel any of Robins' personality coming out; it feels so restricted by this clunky writing.
Secondly, I quickly learned that this book focused on Robin's life in 2012 onward, dealing with her MDS diagnosis. What I really wanted to learn was more about her childhood, her early life. I don't like to read books about people suffering with diseases through the power of love; it's just not my thing. And it's neither Roberts' nor Chambers' faults; it is MY fault for picking this up without doing proper research. That said, there were some interesting life anecdotes (those flashbacks squeezed helter-skelter into the text); and I did like reading about how Robin and her family handled the events surrounding her mother. Very nicely done.
Thirdly, I found it hard to relate to Robin - which is weird, because I'm a military brat like she is! But it's hard to relate when A) the writing holds back her personality, B) she is constantly name-dropping all these famous people (and I get it, she *IS* famous so of course she'd know these people!), or C) she makes a point of noting how her work with give her time off for her treatments, how great her medical coverage is or how the Obamas send her flowers. The name-dropping got way out of hand (totally lost track of the many, many people she brings up). But what was really irksome was the privilege. And although Robin notes many times how fortunate she was, I still couldn't help but feel that she was just not like me. To be able to get the best doctors to work on her MDS AND be covered by her plan? To take off so much time and be assured a job back? I can't say with confidence that the same would be done for me, and I know MILLIONS would have it even worse than I do. As for the Obamas sending her flowers for the funeral - I'm like, wow. WOW.
So after hemming and hawing and procrastinating, I've decided to let the book go. For people who love Robin Roberts, who love Good Morning America, who love stories about real-life people facing trials and overcoming, this is your book. If it hadn't been for the awful writing, I would have rated 3 stars with a "not for me" notice, but because the writing was atrocious, I am giving it 2 stars.