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The Boston Globe


Book Review

‘Survival Lessons’ by Alice Hoffman

“I was not someone who got cancer,” Alice Hoffman writes in her newest book and nonfiction debut. “In fact, I was the person who sat by bedsides, accompanied friends to doctors’ appointments,” and so forth.

Cancer isn’t so discriminating, of course, and when a lump in Hoffman’s breast turned out to be malignant 15 years ago, the expert soother and hand-holder found herself upended. Worse yet, Hoffman, a prolific author herself, couldn’t find the guidebook she was looking for — “I needed to know how people survive trauma” — which is, in part, how she came to write “Survival Lessons” (the advance for which she donated to the Hoffman Breast Cancer Center at Mount Auburn Hospital).

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