A Breast Cancer Alphabet, by Madhulika Sikka (@madhulikasikka) – Review

About the book, A Breast Cancer Alphabet A Breast Cancer Alphabet

Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Crown; First Edition edition (February 25, 2014)

From NPR News executive editor comes an indispensable and approachable guide to life during, and after, breast cancer.

The biggest risk factor for breast cancer is simply being a woman.  Madhulika Sikka’s A Breast Cancer Alphabet offers a new way to live with and plan past the hardest diagnosis that most women will ever receive: a personal, practical, and deeply informative look at the road from diagnosis to treatment and beyond.

What Madhulika Sikka didn’t foresee when initially diagnosed, and what this book brings to life so vividly, are the unexpected and minute challenges that make navigating the world of breast cancer all the trickier.  A Breast Cancer Alphabet is an inspired reaction to what started as a personal predicament.

This A-Z guide to living with breast cancer goes where so many fear to tread: sex (S is for Sex – really?), sentimentality (J is for Journey – it’s a cliché we need to dispense with), hair (H is for Hair – yes, you can make a federal case of it) and work (Q is for Quitting – there’ll be days when you feel like it).  She draws an easy-to-follow, and quite memorable, map of her travels from breast cancer neophyte to seasoned veteran.

As a prominent news executive, Madhulika had access to the most cutting edge data on the disease’s reach and impact.  At the same time, she craved the community of frank talk and personal insight that we rely on in life’s toughest moments.  This wonderfully inventive book navigates the world of science and story, bringing readers into Madhulika’s mind and experience in a way that demystifies breast cancer and offers new hope for those living with it.

Buy, read, and discuss A Breast Cancer Alphabet

Amazon | Books-a-Million | Goodreads


About the author, Madhulika Sikka Madhulika Sikka

MADHULIKA SIKKA is a veteran broadcast journalist with decades of experience. Among other media outlets, she has worked at NPR News and ABC News.

Connect with Madhulika

Website | Twitter


My Thoughts

There are two ways to read A Breast Cancer Alphabet. You can read it straight through, in which case it feels very much like one woman’s memoir of a trip down breast cancer lane, at times witty and at other times poignant, and mostly a mixture of both. Alternately, you can read the introduction, and then flip through the actual alphabetized entries at random, going forward and backward as your mood dictates. Either way, you’re likely to learn something new, either about breast cancer, or about the woman who wrote the book, journalist Madhulika Sikka.

Either way, what you’ll find is information that is witty and engaging, but also honest and useful about this disease that affects so many of us, across cultures, heedless of age, income level, or geography.

To be honest, it’s not the kind of book you sit down and read straight through, like a novel. Even if you read it in order, it’s probably best in small doses…it makes a great “bathroom book” in that way. (Which is not to denigrate the author or the book – I get the majority of my reading done by multitasking in the bathroom or in the actual bathtub.)

It would make a great gift for the mother, daughter, or sister of someone going through breast cancer, or someone who’s just been diagnosed, and it’s designed to feel almost like a journal, and not at all like the encyclopedia of a malady it could easily has become.

All around us are companies pushing pink products because it’s October. Most of them use Breast Cancer Awareness Month as just another marketing ploy. If you really want to think pink this fall – or at any time of year – I heartily suggest this book. Not only will it help you, or someone you love, you’ll also be supporting another woman.

Sisterhood is never something to look away from.

Goes well with a strawberry milkshake. Or a lot of liquor.


TLC Book Tours

This review is part of a blog tour sponsored by TLC Book Tours. For the complete list of tour stops, see below. For more information, click HERE.

Wednesday, October 1st: The Reading Date 

Thursday, October 2nd: Peeking Between the Pages

Friday, October 3rd: Guiltless Reading spotlight/excerpt

Monday, October 6th: WV Stitcher

Tuesday, October 7th: Lisa’s Yarns

Wednesday, October 8th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Wednesday, October 8th: Life is Story

Thursday, October 9th: Melanie’s Muse

Friday, October 10th: Bibliotica

Monday, October 13th: A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, October 14th: Nightly Reading

Thursday, October 16th: Back Porchervations

Monday, October 20th: Lesa’s Book Critiques

Monday, October 20th: From the TBR Pile

Tuesday, October 21st: Sincerely Stacie

Tuesday, October 21st: My Shelf Confessions

Thursday, October 23rd: Luxury Reading

Monday, October 27th: Patricia’s Wisdom

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 A Breast Cancer Alphabet, by Madhulika Sikka (@madhulikasikka) – Review by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

2 thoughts on “A Breast Cancer Alphabet, by Madhulika Sikka (@madhulikasikka) – Review

  1. Pingback: Madhulika Sikka, author of A Breast Cancer Alphabet, on tour October 2014 | TLC Book Tours

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