A moving, surprisingly humorous, sometimes snarky novel about life, friendship… and cancer
Lara Blaine believes that she can hide from her past by clinging to a rigid routine of work and exercise. She endures her self-imposed isolation until a cancer diagnosis cracks her hard exterior. Lara’s journey through cancer treatment should be the worst year of her life.
Instead, it is the year that she learns how to live. She befriends Jane, another cancer patient who teaches her how to be powerful even in the face of death. Accepting help from the people around her allows Lara to confront the past and discover that she is not alone in the world. With the support of her new friends, Lara gains the courage to love and embrace life.
Like climbing the Eiffel Tower, the year Lara meets Jane is tough, painful, and totally worth it.
I chose to read How to Climb the Eiffel Tower because I am currently running a French February theme on my book review site. I can admit that I didn’t actually read the blurb of the book and that I just saw the Eiffel Tower on the cover and being the Francophile that I am I requested it straight away on NetGalley. Normally, I would scold myself for being so laissez-faire with my NetGalley book requests and not actually researching the book beforehand but How to Climb the Eiffel Tower was one of those serendipitous requests: as it turned out I really enjoyed the book.
The story focuses on Lara: a young woman with a bucket load of issues. The narrative tracks her diagnosis with cervical cancer and subsequently how she deals with her illness. Cancer is such a sensitive subject and no two people experience it in the same way and the way the character that Lara Blaine tries to deal with it is pretty intense. It is harsh, it is raw and it is a little heart-warming. I cannot claim to know what a cancer patient goes through but as someone who has a chronic condition, I do know that trying to handle something that you have no control over is frightening, frustrating and downright lonely. These are the emotions that you get from Lara.
Whilst the title How to Climb the Eiffel Tower is somewhat misleading, I am happy that I stumbled on this little gem of a book. This is definitely one of those books that will leave a lasting impression.
How to Climb the Eiffel Tower by Elizabeth Hein is available now.
You can follow Elizabeth Hein (@_ElizabethHein) via Twitter.