Ice Bound

ice boundFirst of all, I have to say that I think that the subtitle of Ice Bound is a bit misleading. Anyone who picks up this book basically knowing the publicity around this woman is going to think the whole book is about her fighting breast cancer. It is not. Sure, there is breast cancer in the book but that's not really what it is about. It's a book about a woman at the South Pole. It's possible that she might have always written a book about her experience at the South Pole but it appears that it's unlikely that she would have written a book about breast cancer had she not be diagnosed when she was at the South Pole. Does anyone follow that? And it's really only about the last third of the book where you get to the stuff about breast cancer. It's also important to note that the book really mostly ends after she is evacuated, it does not really follow her treatment after she leaves the South Pole. Well...it does but basically as briefly and as quickly as possible.The book starts off with how and why she decided to go to the South Pole and them moves to her being there. I'm not anti-adventure but I have to say that wintering at the South Pole is very near the bottom of my list. I don't do cold. Yes I am Canadian and yes it can get darned cold here by times. But we have heating and as long as I work from home, have internet access and a credit card I have no real reason to leave unless I need to do something important. Like go to the library to get books. ;) Choosing to go someplace where you get to have a two-minute shower twice as week and your hair immediately freezes when you leave the shower is honestly not my idea of a grand time. I'm one of those people who are constantly cold so I can't imagine going to a place where it is honestly and truly cold all the time. I would not fit in well at the Pole (plus I'm positive there's no way I could ever bring enough books for a whole year...).

The book can be a bit repetitive in spots - re-explaining things that have just been explained in the last chapter or section. It makes me wonder if it wasn't written in sections and then the sections were all compiled into chapters and sort of thrown together. It probably could have used a bit more editing.  But she clearly loved being at the South Pole and she loved the other "Polies". She makes it sound like a very special place, which I suppose it is. At times it was a bit draggy and I don't think it's going to top any of my recommendation lists but it's not going to hitting any of my "for the love of pete don't read this book" lists either.
The real reason I picked this up was because I thought it would be really interesting to compare the experiences of two different doctors who were diagnosed with breast cancer but were treated in very different ways. I was orignally planning to do this a BlogHer but then I realized that Dr. Marla's book only seemed to have Canadian distribution so I scratched that idea and I'm doing it here (I have plenty of other books on my shelf that I can talk about there...I just gotta read them first). But it was interesting. There were a whole lot of differences. Dr. Nielsen was an emergency room doctor and therefore didn't see as many people go through it the way that Dr. Marla did with her private practice. Dr. Marla was better prepared for it and knew more information about it at the outset. Dr. Nielsen has to rely on emails and old textbooks (often with not great forecasts for those that are diagnosed) whereas Dr. Marla has up to the minute information available to her.  Dr. Nielsen never thought that her diagnosis would be publicized (and really did her best to avoid the press) whereas Dr. Marla was a public figure and knew that she would eventually have to release the news and that it would be news. And of course there's the whole self diagnosis and self administering of chemo that Dr. Nielsen had to do.

Very interesting.