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Rearranged: An Opera Singer's Facial Cancer and Life Transposed
Kathleen Watt
In this heart-wrenching debut, New York opera singer Watt regales readers with her inspirational story of surviving facial bone cancer. At the helm of her most productive season in the New York City operatic scene, a cancerous tumor was found at the back of Watt's mouth, leading to a diagnosis of aggressive osteogenic sarcoma. Watt recounts the terrifying procedures that accompanied the removal of her "golf ball-sized" tumor, as well as the extensive facial reconstruction she was forced to endure, with wit and stunning prose, detailing the devastating—and inspiring—ways her life, and face, were “rearranged.”

Watt vividly details her medical experience, from the initial diagnosis that took a few tries to get right ("A bump on my gum was thought to be an abscessed tooth and treated with a root canal—two actually"), to the multiple surgeries that restructured her face. With the support of her wife, Evie, and her extended family, Watt’s journey eventually led to remission and recovery, but the road was grueling: "Like evolution, perhaps, a leap into the next iteration, having no understanding of how or where to. Only an insistent sense of Before," Watt emotionally pens of her feelings following one of her many procedures.

This is a gripping portrayal of the devastation cancer can spread in one’s health, relationships, and dreams, and Watt’s sweeping storytelling will transport readers to each procedure and hospital room alongside her. She provides insights into the medical torment involved with her treatment, such as being comatose and experiencing ICU psychosis, and ultimately gifts readers with front row seats to her most triumphant performance to date—surviving cancer and having the strength and courage to relive the harrowing journey within the pages of this story. The end result is both heart-breaking and uplifting and will touch the heart of any readers affected by a life-altering illness.

Takeaway: A gripping narrative of life before and after cancer.

Comparable Titles: Siobhan St. John’s Scars Left to Heal, Susan Gubar’s Memoir of a Debulked Woman.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: NA
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A