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Dear Stranger, Dearest Friend


Dear Stranger, Dearest Friend

The epistolary novel is not a new thing, but the "e-mail" novel is. And the machinations and emotional upliftings of a good, solid friendship are not new, either. But the way they affect a woman's battle with breast cancer is. DEAR STRANGER, DEAREST FRIEND, a novel by Laney Katz Becker, follows these new pursuits with emotional and medical candor.

Lara and Susan are two strangers who "meet" on a breast cancer bulletin board on the World Wide Web. Lara finds a lump and has to follow up on it. Susan runs a breast cancer support group and is armed with all the worldly knowledge one needs to help someone through treatment of the disease. However, their unabashedly honest and caring notes to each other are a revelation: it is rare in a novel about female friendship or medical trials and tribulations to find such human, caring, complicated characters that any reader can relate to. But Becker has done it here.

It is not so sentimental that it will make you run to the phone and call every female friend you have and beg them to take care of themselves and that sort of thing. However, it is deeply moving and gently profound, investigating the difficult hills and valleys of suffering through a disease, or suffering through a friend's problems with such a disease. On top of that, Becker manages to weave lots of information about breast cancer and its treatments and aftermath into the e-mails through Susan's support of Lara. DEAR STRANGER, DEAREST FRIEND is a distinctly feminist work, delving into the life of the hearts and minds of women who come together over one particular subject and find true friendship and many other similarities because of it.

I would recommend DEAR STRANGER, DEAREST FRIEND to any reader --- this is the sort of book that Oprah should really push if she is interested in helping women find really compelling, interesting and well-written reading material. No matter whether you have suffered through the disease or never had any contact with it at all, DEAR STRANGER, DEAREST FRIEND is sure to tug at your heart and boggle your mind with its intensity and richness.

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on September 19, 2000

Dear Stranger, Dearest Friend
by Laney Katz Becker

  • Publication Date: September 19, 2000
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 295 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • ISBN-10: 0380978539
  • ISBN-13: 9780380978533