VANCOUVER (Dec. 10, 2014) — A groundbreaking memoir about war trauma and the legacy through the Lens of a young Vietnamese woman refugee and her experience as an adult breast cancer survivor is not the subject of a new book from Rabbit Fool Press based in Vancouver.
Thirty-one years old, mother of two young children, and in the middle of completing her MFA while freelancing as an editor, Brandy Liên Worrall had no idea how her world would be turned upside down with the diagnosis of a rare, aggressive breast cancer called Triple Negative Breast Cancer. She also had no idea that her cancer journey would bring her closer to answering many questions that lingered in the trauma and legacy of her American father’s and Vietnamese mother’s Vietnam War experiences.
What Doesn’t Kill Us chronicles the parallels between Worrall’s cancer diagnosis and treatment and her parents’ trauma and survival during and after the war. The book highlights how much war and cancer have in common in terms of how lives are disrupted, destroyed, and rebuilt in the wake of trauma, especially for young adults. The memoir also explores the possible concrete link between her cancer and her parents’ exposure to Agent Orange in the late 1960s.
Set in both Canada and the U.S., What Doesn’t Kill Us details the complexities and richness of war, cancer, and hybridity: PTSD, isolation, haunting pasts, deeply buried secrets, betrayal, abandonment, and cultural dissonance. Included are excerpts from www.cancerfuckingsucks.blogspot.com, which has been read by tens of thousands of people. While there is undoubtedly social, political, and psychological gravity to the subject matter, Worrall handles the material with wit and hilarity that is fresh and life-affirming, leaving readers a lasting impression of the meaning of survival.
Brandy Liên Worrall is author of What Doesn’t Kill Us, a groundbreaking memoir about growing up in the din of her Vietnamese mother and American father’s trauma from the Vietnam War, and how it relates to her breast cancer experience as a young adult. She is the author of eight collections of poetry (the pod Brandy series) and has served as editor of numerous magazines, journals, and anthologies. She is the owner and editor of Rabbit Fool Press, a small family-owned-and operated publishing company based in Vancouver. She received her MA in Asian American Studies from UCLA in 2002 and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia in 2012. She is represented by the Anne McDermid & Associates Literary Agency.