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Book-Notes-720-x-340-dark-gold-outline-and-medium-blue-pen-_-Notes-light-blue-702x336 It's nothing short of amazing that a comedy writer can manage to find the funny in her own brain tumor. But Jeannie Gaffigan managed to not only find the funny but also come face to face with her fears, her anxieties, and her approach to the day-to-day of life as she journeyed through the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of the brain tumor she experienced two years ago. She recounts all of this in her memoir, When Life Gives You Pears: The Healing Power of Family, Faith, and Funny People. When Life Gives You Pears Courtesy of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved. Used with permission.[/caption] I read this book while I was in the middle of a health crisis in my own family, and while it was difficult to read about someone else's hospital stays, tubes, stitches, and medications, it also gave me hope to know that Jeannie had come out of all of it OK -- not unchanged, but OK. (This is not a spoiler; since she wrote this book, it's clear that she is, indeed, OK.) But Jeannie's own husband addresses this very thing in the Foreword to the book:
I am excited for as many people as possible to read the story of this incredible woman, who writes with such humor and vulnerability about a time when she and I feared things were not going to be good. Not good at all. After having traveled down this oath with my own family, I have come to realize that so many of us have gone through a loved one's life-or-death medical crisis, but those accounts of how they kept themselves sane during such a scary time are rarely shared publicly. I wish I had a book like this book prior to going on our own journey. (vii)
If you don't know the story: Jeannie Gaffigan, mom of 5 and comedy writer/executive producer for her husband Jim Gaffigan's shows, was diagnosed with a brain tumor just before Easter of 2017. In this book, she candidly shares it all: her fears; the details of her surgery, treatment, and recovery; how the whole experience impacted her outlook on the world; the role faith played in her life before, during, and after her illness. When Life Gives You Pears Courtesy of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved. Used with permission.[/caption] So what's with the pears? Jeannie's tumor was about the size and shape of a pear. So in true comedy-writer fashion, she turned a cliché on its head. It was good to read about the Jeannie's faith. When you think of most celebrities, their spiritual lives are not the first thing that comes to mind. But Jeannie's story is wrapped up in her faith. You'll read about her bargaining with God (don't we all, when things are tough?). You'll see how, again and again, she credits those little things that fell into place just right as coming together because God made it happen. The story of how she was anointed after the Easter Vigil Mass will move you:
I was aware of the nonphysical part of me in a way I'd never been before. I was alive for now, and I needed supernatural help. I knew there was a presence larger than the physical world. I knew there was a God, and he would take care of me and my family. I felt covered from all angles. I believed with all my heart and soul that I was in the right place at the right time for all of this to happen now, and the fear and doubt that were so intertwined in the deepest part of me were released. (115)
When you read When Life Gives You Pears, you can expect the medical details, the celebrity bio, and the funny. And you can also expect a powerful testimony of the role faith played in Jeannie's life and in her recovery.

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Copyright 2019 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS This article contains Amazon affiliate links; your purchases through these links benefit the author.