This Really Isn’t About You

Picador. Jul. 2019. 272p. ISBN 9781509863815. pap. $21.95. MEMOIR
Edelstein, a video content strategist for Etsy and freelance journalist, returned to the United States in the early 2000s to be near her much-loved dying father after having spent most of her early adulthood in Europe and the UK. In the midst of the jumble of re-creating a life on another continent and coming to terms with the death of a parent, Edelstein faces an existential quandary: whether she has inherited the genetic tendency toward the cancers prevalent in her family. Edelstein’s wry reportage of managing the random hits that life kept delivering her way provides readers with enough detail to sympathize with her experience while drawing analogies to their own. She balances the surreal (details of the sofa in a funeral establishment) with the mundane (idle chit-chat with a doctor, which informs the title of the book) in a snapshot of what happened when her life took a turn in an unanticipated and hugely unpleasant direction.
VERDICT Edelstein delivers a chronicle of the work in progress that was her life, over years marked by uncertainty and grief, in an account that will appeal to those who feel unmoored by the circumstances of their own lives.
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