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Mary’s artwork – “My warrior in search of stem cells.”

How I Survived Abuse, Cancer, and a Giant F@#%ing Stroke

By E.M. Fredric

Hollywood, CA (E.M. Fredric) – 10/21/18 – Mary Reid-Hill’s memoir – IN SPITE OF… How I Survived Abuse, Cancer, and a Giant F@#%ing Stroke – is a riveting journey, simply told – without apologies – by a courageous woman with an uncommon sense of humor. Mary is a unique bird of paradise who discusses every emotion she has moved through – or still has – while recovering from cancer at a young age, divorce, a debilitating stroke, more cancer and the abuse that comes from being with alcoholic men. Indifference can be the harshest hit when one is helpless and needs assistance.

Mary was told she needed to start rehab within a week of her stroke and says, “Rehab? Me? How? I can’t even move. Wait. I can’t even tell anybody I can’t move or what I’m feeling or how pissed off I am to be here, and how scared I am that I may never be myself again.”

The depths of despair Mary has endured, along with her sisters and her mother, is never Disneyfied nor is it dramatized. Reid-Hill lends a clarity – while stroke-fuzzy at times – to her ongoing rehabilitation while embracing us with such striking honesty and distinction that we can feel her heart beat. Her love of creating art is her lifeline.

Stories of an abusive childhood, teenage marriages, cancer at 22 and then a stroke by age 38 – with alcohol being a constant presence with the men in her life – isn’t a total anomaly to have occurred in one’s lifetime. It’s the way in which Mary reveals herself so unapologetically that her story becomes an ingratiating tale of survival.

The “science” portions between her life stories may need fact checking or simply a cleaner edit. In some places it’s clean and fits, in others areas it was a distraction, almost a tad of the self-help hyperbole that so many of the Chicken Soup for the Soul promote. After checking the co-author, as “told to” David Tabatsky’s line of books – it makes sense. Although, their collaborative effort is a successful one it ventures off, unnecessarily in places – or perhaps that’s the intent.

Reid-Hill’s story – in her own words – should be reprinted and gifted by every hospital to every stroke patient and their doctors, nurses and loved ones as a guide for understanding and to give the hope that Mary asks for over and over to those who aren’t understood. Just because one doesn’t understand someone, doesn’t give another the right to demean or dismiss them. She takes on the doctors, relatives, insurance companies by telling her truth of how a patient wants to be treated and viewed with an uncanny reality bite.

Available on: Amazon.com      Website: www.inspiteof.life

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at TheHollywoodTimes.today, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.