Who in This Room: The Realities of Cancer, Fish, and Demolition by Katherine Malmo is the brilliantly written account of one young woman’s experience with inflammatory breast cancer. Half memoir, half collection of essays, Who in This Room jumps from the second person to the third person narrative in a way that helps the reader engage with the story and cope with the difficult subject manner.
Another literary device used is the juxtaposition between the worst medical nightmare you could imagine, with really random bits of ordinary living. So on one page the narrative hears that she has a 10% chance of survival, but on the next she is watching a makeover show on television and contemplating v neck sweaters. This really makes the reader feel like you too are trying to process what is happening and deal with it however you can.
I’m a really fast reader and can usually finish a book in one or two sittings, but who in this room presented a challenge to me because the reality of the story was hard to face. I had to read it in pieces, and then brace my heart for the next chapter. But spoiler alert! This book has a happy ending. You can follow Katherine Malmo on her blog, as she chronicles life as a Seattle mommy raising two beautiful children.