A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles: A True Story of Love, Science, and Cancer

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A wry, witty account of what it is like to face death—and be restored to life.

After being diagnosed in her early 40s with metastatic melanoma—a “rapidly fatal” form of cancer—journalist and mother of two Mary Elizabeth Williams finds herself in a race against the clock. She takes a once-in-a-lifetime chance and joins a clinical trial for immunotherapy, a revolutionary drug regimen that trains the body to vanquish malignant cells. Astonishingly, her cancer disappears entirely in just a few weeks. But at the same time, her best friend embarks on a cancer journey of her own—with very different results. Williams’s experiences as a patient and a medical test subject reveal with stark honesty what it takes to weather disease, the extraordinary new developments that are rewriting the rules of science—and the healing power of human connection.


Series of Catastrophes and Miracles

Review

“This highly recommended account demonstrates the value of cutting-edge cancer research, but it is also beautifully crafted, and many readers will find it entertaining and—though the author might not like this term—inspiring.”—Library Journal, starred review

“Exhilarating and entertaining…Williams delivers a complex tale about a complex disease.”—Kirkus, starred review

“[Williams] eloquently and generously shares her story and her emotions in this remarkably illuminating account.”—Booklist, starred review

“Devastating and wise, clear-eyed and funny, A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles is a cliché-busting tour guide through a country no one volunteers to visit (and how can you resist a cancer memoir that beings “Spoiler: I Lived.”) This is a book for all the survivors—of cancer, of marriage, of mothers, and of children; of all the trials and journeys that make us who we are.”
– Jennifer Weiner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels including Good In Bed, Best Friends Forever, and Who Do You Love

“This astonishing and inspiring book reveals not only the experimental treatment that healed Mary Elizabeth Williams but also the deep reserves of grit, love, and humor that help people face life’s toughest tests. When you laugh and cry at the exact same time, you know you are reading an amazing survival story.”
– Piper Kerman, author the #1 New York Times Bestseller Orange Is The New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison

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