Title: Allora Mi Prenderò Un Cappello
Author: Maria Cristina Benetti
Genre: Non-fiction memoir
My Rating: 5/5 stars
and welcome to my new book review. Today, I bring to you something a little different, and let me explain. The author of this book, Maria Cristina Benetti, contacted me about a month ago, asking me to review her debut release Allora Mi Prenderò Un Cappello, which, translate from Italian means “then I will get myself a hat”. Let me give you a little bit of background on the author and the novel. This is Cristina’a non-fiction memoir and her experience as a woman and as a human being while she went through cancer. She used writing as a therapeutic and cathartic tool in order to deal with all the troubling emotions and feelings she felt while ill, and this is the result of such reflections. Because this is a special review and because this book has grown to be dear to me, I will use a different frame than my usual one in order to review this particular work. I will talk about the importance of such work of literature within society and then about the message it gives out to people. I gave ti 5/5 stars and so, without further ado, let’s get into the review.
This book is like nothing else I have ever read. It is divided into chapter, sure, but each chapter has a headline and each paragraph has a different theme. It deals with all the inner emotion and turmoil affecting Cristina from the very first time she has breast cancer, up to when she discover to have a new one, two years later. She describes it all clearly, with a simple but at the same time metaphorically elaborate language, so that the work in itself becomes intersectional. It can be understood by all, and I deem this to be very important. The author was very courageous to put her thoughts and feeling on paper, to show her vulnerability to the world; however, this is also her strength, making her experience public, so that other people could relate to it and identify with the experience as a whole. I think it is extremely important that more works like this one are written: the word cancer implies other concepts such as fear, hopelessness, death. However, hearing the voice of someone who is ready to fight, even though sometimes she does lose hope, is fundamental, because that same hope is always found again. Talking more about these issues will help to de-demonize this sickness, and open communication will make the patient’s (and also his or her family’s) life easier.
One thing I took away from this book is that cancer really can turn someone’s life upside down. The author talks about how she worked in the fashion industry, and how now she was barely able to recognize herself. She could not stay in the sun, she could not bike around without losing her breath, she could not take a normal shower, she lost friends who saw the illness before they saw Her. However, in the end, it is true, cancer had changed her, but there were new positive things that were born. Stronger connections with a new community, meeting new people, and finally being able to swim in the water again. Her concluding lines are as follow: “I will not turn my back on you [cancer], I want to look at you in the eye. One of us is gonna give out. And I will win.” I find this final sentence to be so empowering, and a good demonstration that it is not easy to come to terms with this illness, and that even though everyone has a different way of coping with it, the important thing is to find a way to get to that point of acceptance and fight back.
Overall, it was a very good experience to read this book, and I am so glad Cristina contacted me to review it. You can find the Goodreads page here. I really hope her message will be spread and heard.
Until next time,