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Review: The Cost of Hope

September 25, 2012

When she was a foreign correspondent in China in 1983, Amanda Bennett met Terence Foley, a rather odd man who was the Country Director for the American Soybean Association.  Their relationship was volatile from the beginning but, somehow, it worked for them.  They began an unlikely courtship and eventually married.  Years later, when Terence was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer, they did everything they could to keep him alive.

Upon reflecting after his death, Amanda wondered

How much of my belief in this clinical trial came from my need to believe?  How much did I work to save him because I couldn’t imagine life without him?  How much was for me?  How much was for him?

Amanda and Terence had great medical insurance so incurred little monetary expense.   She still wondered why they – the doctors as well as Amanda and Terence – did what they did.  Every new option, every new treatment brought new hope, but at what cost?

The Cost of Hope, by Amanda Bennett, is the story of her relationship with her husband Terence and their battle with his cancer.  At it’s heart, it’s a rather melancholy story, yet I found it fascinating.

Amanda is brutally honest about her relationship with Terence – they loved, and fought, passionately.  They were very different, yet very much alike.  At times they irritated each other to no end, yet they couldn’t live without each other.  Theirs was a happy marriage.

Terence’s cancer diagnosis was quite a blow, but they were determined to defeat it, trying many different treatments and doing lots of research.  After the fact, Amanda put her investigative skills to work and delved into the workings of our medical system.  I found it fascinating and appalling at the same time.  I read passages of this book to anyone who would listen.

The Cost of Hope is very readable, even if it is terribly sad at times.  I did enjoy it and would recommend it to anyone interested in health care or memoirs.

Review copy provided by Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.
29 Comments leave one →
  1. September 25, 2012 6:32 am

    I’ve got this one “waiting in the wings.” I think I’ll need to be in the right frame of mind though when I pick it up.

  2. September 25, 2012 8:35 am

    oh my gosh I don’t think I could read this, even though it sounds really good!

  3. September 25, 2012 8:53 am

    Sounds a tough read but one I’d like to read anyway.

  4. September 25, 2012 9:23 am

    I would like to read this, but it sounds so sad.

  5. September 25, 2012 9:46 am

    This one sounds fascinating. Definitely something worth reading. I’ll be checking it out, because I think I’ll be able to relate to it on a personal level to some extent and I want to find out how they were both able to handle dealing with everything – doctors, new and experimental meds/procedures, etc. Thanks!

  6. September 25, 2012 10:17 am

    Sounds like an excellent, albeit sad story. Great post.

  7. September 25, 2012 11:21 am

    Excellent, honest story of a marriage and a disease. I was in awe of her investigation into the costs of their attempts to keep him alive, and after looking at some of the statements from our insurance regarding my cancer treatment I completely understand her frustration.

  8. bookingmama permalink
    September 25, 2012 11:53 am

    Sounds like they had a passionate relationship. What an amazing story!

  9. September 25, 2012 12:17 pm

    This sounds like it might be in the same category as Rebecca Skloot’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” with all of the readable scientific sections. That sounds good to me. I wonder if they have this on audio?

    • September 25, 2012 5:38 pm

      Yes there will be an audiobook! I just finished recording this for Audible – process is not quite complete, but hopefully it will be out in a month or so. Ms. Bennett is an accomplished journalist and this was a unique combo of her experience in her marriage, and her experience navigating the health care system as an advocate for her husband, and THEN her reflecting back on their decisions after his death as she investigated what it really all cost. Fascinating! Some science in there, too, but definitely for the lay person.

  10. September 25, 2012 12:48 pm

    Oh wow — I’m kind of interested even though this kind of non-fic is not typically my thing.

  11. September 25, 2012 1:07 pm

    This book hits a spot that is tender, as this is what my family is going through right now. I think I would like to read this one to better understand Amanda and Terrence’s mindset when approaching his disease. It sounds like a darker read, but one that I would like to try. Fantastic review today!

  12. September 25, 2012 2:20 pm

    It’s an interesting topic to think about, and what hard decisions they would be to make – to know when to stop trying treatments. I could see reading this book, when I was in the appropriate frame of mind.

  13. September 25, 2012 3:09 pm

    this sounds like a great book. I will have to read it when the cold melancholy days of fall come.

  14. September 25, 2012 3:24 pm

    This sounds like a fascinating topic, but I’m not sure if I could handle it. The personal aspect of it sounds heartbreaking.

  15. September 25, 2012 3:39 pm

    You have made this sound interesting and readable.

  16. September 25, 2012 6:54 pm

    This sounds like a sad and interesting one.

  17. swright9 permalink
    September 25, 2012 7:05 pm

    I heard about this one; and it sounds interesting. I will keep it on my radar thanks

  18. September 25, 2012 7:31 pm

    Pretty sure this book will move me to tears. I don’t think I will be able to stomach this after a recent cancer-related death in the family, but I’m glad that this book was great.

  19. September 25, 2012 7:43 pm

    My mom and sister both died of cancer, so this would be a hard read for sure. But, it sounds like one I’d still want to read.

  20. September 25, 2012 8:03 pm

    This interest me on both of those levels..health care and memoirs.

  21. September 25, 2012 8:19 pm

    It sounds very powerful.

  22. September 25, 2012 8:49 pm

    While I’m sure this is a powerful read, it would be too sad for me I think.

  23. September 25, 2012 10:38 pm

    My hubby works in radiation oncology, fixing the machine they use to treat cancer patients and we talk about the state of our health care often.

  24. September 26, 2012 12:44 am

    This book would fascinate me as well–if only I had more time to read it! I enjoyed your enthusiastic review.

  25. September 26, 2012 3:19 am

    This does sound like a sad, yet compelling read. I love books that are so fascinating you want to read them aloud to those around you.

  26. September 26, 2012 11:16 am

    Hi everyone — I LOVE your comments and would like to add one thing — even though it is a sad story in that we all know how it ends — it is also a REALLY FUNNY BOOK. Terence was a wild man and a total original. I tried to fill the book with examples of our hilarious and passionate and argumentative lives together, and lots of strangers have told me they laughed out loud reading it. One of my friends told me that even without the medical part, it is worth reading just as a memoir of a marriage. And — those of you who have read it, tell me if I’m wrong — even though it is sad, it’s not a downer. We had a wonderful life together, fought the illness well together, raised two wonderful children together. I would love people to read this book if only to get to know Terence and what a wonderful force of nature he was…… I also think that those of you going through something similar SHOULD read it. Because I found out so much after the fact that I wish I had known while I was going through it.

    Thanks for considering it….

  27. September 27, 2012 7:21 pm

    Glad you liked it, but I think it would be too sad for me.

  28. October 1, 2012 10:45 pm

    Too sad for me too!

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