Book Review: Don’t Ask Me How I’m Doing: Life, Death and Everything in Between by Sanjay Deshpande and Co-Authors

About the Book: (taken from Amazon India)

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Co-authored by Sanjay Deshpande (Lead Author), Sachin Rajakrishnan, Snehal Ponde, Thanisha Sehgal, Anuraag Khaund, Piuli Roy Chowdhury, Vani Verma, Nikita Wadhwani, Pallavi Saraswatula, Aditya Arun, Subeksha Poudel, and Poornima Sardana.

You are 29 and entering the gates of your dream college, you are 30 and have just moved countries with your partner to start your new life, or you are 34 and are expecting your first child. You are in the midst of truly living your life when you wake up one day and find out that you have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness such as cancer. The world as you know it turns upside down in an instant and you are left all alone grappling with multiple questions in a sea of uncertainty. The world as you know it turns upside down in an instant and you are left alone grappling with multiple questions in a sea of uncertainty.

So, when cancer knocks the living daylight out of you, what do you do? This book is a collection of stories of people in the age group of 17-39 who came together to recount what it’s like to be diagnosed with cancer at a young age or become caregivers to those diagnosed and how they navigated or are navigating their lives through such difficult times. Filled with raw, honest and vulnerable narratives of coping with something whose cause and outcome are mostly unclear, this book is a must read for anyone who wants to find support and have their own voices reflected in the stories of the authors.

My Thoughts:

When Saumita Banerjee from LetsAuthor Books reached out to me regarding this book, I was intrigued. The first thing that caught my attention was the title of the book ‘Don’t Ask Me How I’m Doing’. The second was the synopsis, straight, to the point and written in a way to grab your attention immediately.

Before I write about the book, I want to mention that I truly appreciate Sanjay for finding the courage and stepping up to talk about his experience and opening up the conversation about having or living with cancer. In addition, I have only the utmost respect for all the wonderful co authors (all in a specific age range as the synopsis suggests) who have stepped up to share with us their journeys and the impact cancer has had on their lives as well as that of their loved ones.

I cannot even begin to fathom what any of them or others in general have gone through but this book has given me some insight into how they or anyone might feel or react to the information of having cancer and later dealing with it. The authors are candid and even funny in some cases, bringing to us their thoughts, feelings, insecurities and finally strategies they used to cope with the diagnosis and further. This book is a testament to their strength and more than that their will to educate us all. I have learnt so much from this book and more than anything, I understand that sometimes people need time and space to find their way.

This is a book that is so much more than just people’s accounts. It is about their journey, adulting and in some ways providing a safe space for everyone. One message I came away with is that we are not alone! There is always someone who will understand you or what you are going through and it is okay to ask for help, to reach out to people! I highly recommend this book to all and please do forgive me if I have expressed anything incorrectly here!