Monday Book Review: The Dance: A Story of Love, Faith, and Survival by Joan Aubele

Long-time readers of my blog know I usually review middle grade and young adult books on Monday, but every once in a while, I review something for adults, too. Today is one of those days! 🙂

I’ll be very upfront and tell you I may be a bit biased about this book as it’s written by my cousin and godmother Joan Aubele. 🙂 But even without the family connections, I think anyone who has endured a devastating cancer diagnosis in their family will be able to relate to Joan’s experiences and find comfort and inspiration in her story.

IMG_5876Title: The Dance: A Story of Love, Faith, and Survival

Author: Joan Aubele

Genre: Memoir

Synopsis: At the age of twenty-nine, Joan Aubele is diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (a.k.a. “childhood leukemia”). She is told to say good-bye to her husband and three young girls and to prepare for her funeral, but she and her husband Carl decide to fight the cancer anyway. It’s not an easy fight. Time and time again, Joan and her family are warned that death may be near, but their faith in God keeps them moving forward, and somehow miracles (one even worked through a prayer intention brought to the Blessed Mother at Medjugorje) seem to save her from the brink of death.

My mom is Joan’s godmother, and one of the most striking parts of this book for me is how similar their stories are. Both my mom and Joan were diagnosed with cancer when they were married and had small children at home. Both worried that they wouldn’t live to see their kids grow up. Both have endured “mini strokes” (TIAs), but both have now lived at least 25 years since their first cancer diagnosis (my mom has had numerous kinds of cancer), and both have lived to see their children and their grandchildren. Most importantly, both have a very strong faith in God. I truly believe it is their Catholic faith that has seen them through these harrowing experiences.

At a little over 100 pages, The Dance is a quick read, but in that short time, it will leave a lasting impression on your heart. These are unforgettable people enduring extremely trying hardships. If you or someone you know is facing a cancer diagnosis, this lovely memoir will help them remember that they are not alone.

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