Cancer Vixen: A True Story

By Marisa Acocella Marchetto

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006

Genres: Non-fiction, autobiography

Format: Graphic novel

ISBN: 9780676978247

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 212

Setting: NYC- lower Manhattan

Time period: 2001- 2005

Plot summary: “What happens when a shoe-crazy, lipstick-obsessed, wine-swilling, pasta-slurping, fashion-fanatic, single-forever, about-to-get married big-city girl cartoonist with a fabulous life finds a lump in her breast?” (p. 1).  Marisa Acocella Marchetto tells her own true story about fighting cancer and living life to the fullest.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: Fairly fast paced, with quick dialog and lots of action.  Slower parts are generally limited to 1-2 page spreads which involve lots of text.

Characterization: The story is told in first person through Marisa’s eyes; the reader sees everything from her microscopic cancer cells to her imaginary, hoped-for-someday children.  There are many secondary characters, including friends, rivals, doctors, nurses, and patients; the most important are Silvano, Marisa’s fidanzato/ husband, and Marisa’s (s)mother.

Frame: There are three frames for this story.  The first is the setting- lower Manhattan, specifically the in scene.  The second frame is cancer and how it completely affects a person’s life.  The third frame is revealed through colorful and vibrant pictures; it is energy and hope for love and life.

Story Line: While both serious and educational, Marisa’s story of fighting cancer and living a “good” life is also quite humorous and entertaining.

Subject headings:

From PCPL:
Marchetto, Marisa Acocella — Health — Comic books, strips, etc.
Breast — Cancer — Patients — New York (State) — New York — Biography — Comic books, strips, etc.

Similar authors:(Using NoveList’s Find Similar Books feature- these are all non-fiction graphic novels which are listed as NoveList Best)

Persepolis 1 & 2 by Marjane Satrapi
Epileptic by David B.
The Girlfriend Trilogy (the first book is Clumsy) by Jeffery Brown
The Barefoot Gen series by Keiji Nakazawa
My New York Diary by Julie Doucet
Cancer made me a shallower person: a memoir in comics by Miriam Engleberg
Fat free: the all-true adventures of supersize woman! by Jude Milner
Mom’s Cancer by Brian Fies
Janet & me: an illustrated story of love and loss by Stanley Mack
Fun home: a family tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Personal notes: I thoroughly enjoyed this story. [Annotated 11/11/08]

Other notes: Orignially published as a serial comic strip in Glamour magazine.


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