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The Invisible Girls

The Invisible Girls: A Memoir - Sarah Thebarge Actual rating = 3.5Sarah's story really had an impact on me. At 29 years old, I am just over the age Sarah was when she found out she had breast cancer. I can't even imagine what that diagnosis would do to your life at a time when you're just coming into who you really are as an adult, and making decisions about your career and family life goals. Her descriptions of loneliness during treatments, and mourning for the body and life she will never have again were extremely moving and impactful. There were however parts of this book that I did find a bit confusing - she sometimes mentions things in passing that seem important but are never brought up again. Early on she says she's 'done many bad things', yet there is no evidence of this behaviour anywhere in the book. Or when she mentions that some fake loans were taken out under her name, she never mentions if she found out who stole her identity, or even mentions the situation again at all. This book also felt like memoirs sometimes can, where the author is concerned with writing with a particular structure to give the story more of an impact. There are 83(!) chapters in this 260 page book, each ending with a 'hook' sentence, which really felt unnecessary - the story speaks for itself, it doesn't need any added drama. Where The Invisible Girls succeeds is when Sarah brings you into her most intimate and personal experiences with the disease - the physical and emotional indignities she suffers throughout the course of her illness and recovery, and how her faith in God suffers as a result of constant disappointments, and the persistent need to know 'why me?'. When she shares her experiences with the Somalian girls, the issues of women and how they are treated as physical beings is brought into focus in a way I think will really connect with a lot of people in this generation. I almost never say (or think) this, but I actually believe this book could have actually been longer - it would have done well to go into more detail about Somali or immigrant culture in the US, so this book has more of an educational aspect with perhaps a bigger and more lasting reach. Still, it was a worthwhile read, and one I will recommend to others.