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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