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My One-Night Stand With Cancer: A Memoir

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When Tania Katan was 21 years old she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She survived, minus a breast. Exactly 10 years later it happened again. By age 31 Katan was a two-time breast cancer survivor with the scars to prove it and a sense of humor forged by the unthinkable. Her memoir, loaded with rage and blistering humor, tells the tale of living through two bouts When Tania Katan was 21 years old she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She survived, minus a breast. Exactly 10 years later it happened again. By age 31 Katan was a two-time breast cancer survivor with the scars to prove it and a sense of humor forged by the unthinkable. Her memoir, loaded with rage and blistering humor, tells the tale of living through two bouts with death and is woven through with stories of picking up women while bald, coping with her supportive but neurotic family, running in two 10K races, and pledging to never ever date a psychotic woman again. An unforgettable account of survival. Tania Katan’s plays have been seen at Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Circle Repertory Theatre, Theatre Rhinoceros, Pacific Residence Theatre, A Traveling Jewish Theatre, and Theatre of NOTE.


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When Tania Katan was 21 years old she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She survived, minus a breast. Exactly 10 years later it happened again. By age 31 Katan was a two-time breast cancer survivor with the scars to prove it and a sense of humor forged by the unthinkable. Her memoir, loaded with rage and blistering humor, tells the tale of living through two bouts When Tania Katan was 21 years old she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She survived, minus a breast. Exactly 10 years later it happened again. By age 31 Katan was a two-time breast cancer survivor with the scars to prove it and a sense of humor forged by the unthinkable. Her memoir, loaded with rage and blistering humor, tells the tale of living through two bouts with death and is woven through with stories of picking up women while bald, coping with her supportive but neurotic family, running in two 10K races, and pledging to never ever date a psychotic woman again. An unforgettable account of survival. Tania Katan’s plays have been seen at Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Circle Repertory Theatre, Theatre Rhinoceros, Pacific Residence Theatre, A Traveling Jewish Theatre, and Theatre of NOTE.

30 review for My One-Night Stand With Cancer: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Spiegel

    This was my first read on my “book tour.” I thought a cancer memoir might be light? I know that sounds crazy but this is a funny book. Cancer people/survivors/stricken are inundated with holier-than-thou and positive-thinking instruction manuals. Sometimes, you need that. Sometimes, you just don’t... I appreciate, mostly, her real talk.

  2. 5 out of 5

    CMolieri

    I know it doesn't sound like it would be, but this book is fucking hilarious. Sounds crazy, I know, but the way Katan writes about her experiences its poignant to be sure and at times sobering since the subject matter is cancer, but the overall vibe of the book is hilarity. Read it. Now.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gerald Thomson

    Katan is a wonderful, witty, insightful writer. Loved every page of this book. The parts about Tania's battles with cancer are heartbreaking but instructive. Her relationship stories are funny and sad at the same time. Ultimately an uplifting story, this book is for anyone who is interested in the human condition.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stacy Holmstedt

    I watched Tania Katan speak on a panel earlier this year and she absolutely stole the show with her stories, so it seemed that her memoir would be equally side-splitting, and it was. Tania, I love your story and your family, and hope to see more books come from you.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Teddy Goetz

    I honestly stopped reading (about halfway through) after some rampant transphobia, but it wasn’t funny up until that point. As a (queer, trans) lover of humorous memoirs, this was a profound disappointment. The only redeeming factor is that I bought it from a wonderful independent bookstore.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I really loved this book. I actually got to the hear the author speak at a class of Alex's that I ended up at somehow, and bought the book. Besides meeting the author, the cancer thing might have drawn me into it a little with my medical background, but this book is definitely not medical. She's a lesbian, shes hilarious, shes eccentric, shes Jewish, shes honest... did I mention she was hilarious? This book had me laughing out loud every chapter. It is about a woman dealing with cancer, which is I really loved this book. I actually got to the hear the author speak at a class of Alex's that I ended up at somehow, and bought the book. Besides meeting the author, the cancer thing might have drawn me into it a little with my medical background, but this book is definitely not medical. She's a lesbian, shes hilarious, shes eccentric, shes Jewish, shes honest... did I mention she was hilarious? This book had me laughing out loud every chapter. It is about a woman dealing with cancer, which is no little thing, but without taking away the seriousness of that, its a book I feel a lot of people could relate to. Relate to it in the way that everyone has crap going on in there life and the best we can hope to do is like Tania... keep ourselves surrounded with people that bring positivity, accept that we're going have bad days and be honest in our feelings, never loose the ability to laugh at ourselves, keep our imagination and playful side, and do our best to keep laughing through life.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. As a breast cancer survivor, I truly appreciated the humor that Ms. Katan used to get herself through this book. She is funny, poignant, hilarious, and real. She take us along her on her journey through her breast cancer, and not only does she have to go through it at the very young age of 21, but again at 31!! She invites us in to experience her family, her relationships and her friends. She somehow comes through having a double mastectomy in her short life time & celebrates it by running tople As a breast cancer survivor, I truly appreciated the humor that Ms. Katan used to get herself through this book. She is funny, poignant, hilarious, and real. She take us along her on her journey through her breast cancer, and not only does she have to go through it at the very young age of 21, but again at 31!! She invites us in to experience her family, her relationships and her friends. She somehow comes through having a double mastectomy in her short life time & celebrates it by running topless during one of her 10k races, with her girlfriend & friends cheering her on from the sidelines. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has had to deal with breast cancer. It's been 8 years for me, but was still relevant for me, especially using humor to get through the ordeal. Thank you Tania for writing this book, I had a hard time putting it down and is one of the fastest reads that I have had lately.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Luanne Castle

    My One-night Stand With Cancer is Katan's memoir about having cancer at the age of 21. It's threaded with humor that springs from a deep well of truth. By the time she was 31, Tania had had cancer twice. But it’s not just Tania’s young age as a cancer survivor that makes her book so unique. It’s also that she’s a lesbian and at 21, as she was faced with losing her breast, Tania was just figuring out her sexuality and her identity. From Tania Katan’s memoir I learned that humor can bind wounds for b My One-night Stand With Cancer is Katan's memoir about having cancer at the age of 21. It's threaded with humor that springs from a deep well of truth. By the time she was 31, Tania had had cancer twice. But it’s not just Tania’s young age as a cancer survivor that makes her book so unique. It’s also that she’s a lesbian and at 21, as she was faced with losing her breast, Tania was just figuring out her sexuality and her identity. From Tania Katan’s memoir I learned that humor can bind wounds for both writer and reader. Also, it can bind people with few commonalities together in that moment of reading. In this memoir, humor is a way of looking slant at tragedy. By this off-center viewpoint, the poignancy is enhanced, and the triumphant penultimate scene of the book made me sob.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    Tania is an old friend I rediscovered one night when working at a bookstore. I heard a mutual friend of our's (MK) laugh, and went to investigate if it was really her, and Tania was with her. I stared at her, and she stared at me, and then we realised, almost simultaneously that we knew each other. It was with sadness that I learned she'd had breast cancer and a double masactomy, but it was with pride I learned too, that she wrote this amazing book which has, in fact won many awards for it's hon Tania is an old friend I rediscovered one night when working at a bookstore. I heard a mutual friend of our's (MK) laugh, and went to investigate if it was really her, and Tania was with her. I stared at her, and she stared at me, and then we realised, almost simultaneously that we knew each other. It was with sadness that I learned she'd had breast cancer and a double masactomy, but it was with pride I learned too, that she wrote this amazing book which has, in fact won many awards for it's honesty, wit, and charm. It's a must read for anyone who has battled breast cancer, or who knows someone who has too. I'm proud to call Tania my friend, and for that, as well, you must read her book!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Thanks to Allison for the recommendation and borrowed copy! I also enjoyed how real Tania Katan's voice is in this memoir of her devastating two-time diagnosis with breast cancer (once at age 21, and again at age 31). I especially liked how her retelling of her first bout with cancer in her early twenties is interspersed with later journal entries made following her second diagnosis. Deals with a serious and difficult topic, yet full of humor at the absurdities of life and surviving its challeng Thanks to Allison for the recommendation and borrowed copy! I also enjoyed how real Tania Katan's voice is in this memoir of her devastating two-time diagnosis with breast cancer (once at age 21, and again at age 31). I especially liked how her retelling of her first bout with cancer in her early twenties is interspersed with later journal entries made following her second diagnosis. Deals with a serious and difficult topic, yet full of humor at the absurdities of life and surviving its challenges.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    If you are interested in any of the following, you will enjoy this book: zany people who can be imaginative in serious situations, the journey of a 20-30something woman who decides on mastesctomy to cure her breast cancer, an exploration of one woman's lesbian relationships that are often disfunctional, ridiculously great humor, honesty. The ridiculously great humor and honesty are especially present in this book. At times, of course, it is difficult, but so is having cancer! But I like that this If you are interested in any of the following, you will enjoy this book: zany people who can be imaginative in serious situations, the journey of a 20-30something woman who decides on mastesctomy to cure her breast cancer, an exploration of one woman's lesbian relationships that are often disfunctional, ridiculously great humor, honesty. The ridiculously great humor and honesty are especially present in this book. At times, of course, it is difficult, but so is having cancer! But I like that this is not trying to be inspirational, or dark, or anything but real in the Tania Katan way.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bets

    Hard to love a book about cancer. After my diagnosis, a friend sent this book for me to read. So many parts of it stayed in my mind as I went through surgery, chemo and radiation. I think it was a good primer for the newly diagnosed BR-CA patient. The author is funny, direct, honest, scared and ultimately hopeful. I don't know if I would have read it had I not been in the same cancer boat and if I had read it, it wouldn't have resonated as much.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Such a fun book of this crazy girls experience twice with breast cancer - and finding a great girlfriend! I sometimes had trouble keeping track of where I was with the time changes back to the past and current day - but would definetly recommend this great book (also great 90s culture references!)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nicemarmot

    I also recommend her one woman show based on this novel, which I had the please of attending at the Act Theater this Fall.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    memoir

  16. 4 out of 5

    Devorah

    THE BEST!!!! I LOVE TANIA KATAN.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    One of the most amazing books I have ever read! Tania is so funny in light of her battle with cancer. You cant help but love her.

  18. 5 out of 5

    HeavyReader

    Another really funny book about cancer, this one by a lesbian who got breast cancer twice, the first time when she was 21. Yikes! But it's funny, it really is!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Snow

    This book about Tania's battle with breast cancer twice at a young age was inspirational during my own BRCA journey.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melia Dunn

    Tania's voice is unlike any other's I've ever read. The candor, humor and vulnerability she reveals are very satisfying.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    She sassy, funny and frank.

  22. 4 out of 5

    LB

    This is a great book about a woman's relationship with breast cancer. It is a great perspective- that of sarcastic and witty lesbian telling her side of the story.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Edens

  24. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Earnshaw

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tolley Casparis

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jill

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mary

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emily Villegas

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joanna O.

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