Review: Jessica Queller – Pretty is What Changes

Pretty is What Changes
Jessica Queller
Jessica has just received the news that she has a breast cancer gene that gives her an 80%+ chance of getting cancer. It’s given to her in the baldest way possible, yet it will change her life radically.

I’ve got a vested interest in reading this novel. It’s part fiction, part fact, and it hits close to home. I have a family history of reproductive cancers, and I’ve often considered whether I’ll need a mastectomy.
Somehow I feel like her case was sort of divinely touched. She didn’t have any huge problems with her reconstruction or anything else. It makes it a bit different that this is in the USA. I’d almost guarantee that Australian women, and women in other countries don’t have access to the same resources.
I found it interesting that a writer would find then to write something like this. I certainly wish I had time! Writing is her thing and she uses it to promote awareness for this cancer, which is great.
I picked up this novel off of the super reduced stack at uni. The partner bought it for me, figuring I’d start it and not necessarily finish it. Or maybe he thought it was a present for my mother. Anyway I settled down to read it, and he couldn’t believe I was taking the time to do it. Sometimes I like an easy to read fiction book! His argument was that the writer was some sort of person he’d read about or something. I don’t follow movies or anything so I had no idea. I’m evaluating the movie purely on what I read.
Jessica spins the tale convincingly. I felt the changes in the protagonist and at times it was painful to read. I didn’t necessarily empathise – I’d chop off my breasts in an instant if I knew I would reduce my chances of cancer. But then I’m not partner shopping either.
The title of the book was really well applicable to the contents. It’s not that she feels ugly afterwards, she’s got fantastic new breasts! But it’s rooted in what her mother thought of her, so it’s deeper than the reader would think.
Would I recommend this novel for breast cancer survivors? Maybe. Not in Australia though perhaps. I would recommend it for those women thinking about being tested for BRCA mutations or preventative surgery. Any more insight you can have is good insight.

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