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Cancer Looks Good on You
Jill Johnson, author
This is the story of a man who chooses to seize the day, not count how many days he has left. From his youth as a tormented gay boy in the Deep South to his rise to the top of the design world, and from discovering a lump in his neck to planning his after-party, Barclay tackles life’s challenges with grace, humor, and indomitable optimism. He shares wisdom that will help you make over your house, your attitude, and your view of the end. This book is for everyone, especially those struggling with illness or yearning to know how to support someone who is.
Filled with charm and optimism, this inspiriting posthumous memoir from interior decorator Fryery (1960–2017) gives tips on living with cancer graciously. Johnson, former editor of Tear Sheet magazine, bases this svelte biography cum guide to living better with cancer on a lengthy interview with Fryery after his 2016 cancer diagnosis. Born Timothy Mark Fryery in Meridian, Miss., Fryery endured an evangelical household with a sadistic father who struck him in the head with a garbage can lid to beat the “sissy” out of him. Instead of listening to his father, Fryery believed he could “dream big, and then grow into it.” Fryery explains how he did just that during a distinguished modeling career, working for Diana Ross and Lara Spencer as an interior decorator, serving under design icon Albert Hadley, and eventually being named to House Beautiful’s Top 100 Designers. Diagnosed with aggressive lymph node cancer in 2016, Fryery wrote Facebook posts about coping strategies and maintained a cheerful disposition, determined to “take the ugly out of sickly.” With empathy and humility, he encourages cancer patients to beautify their surroundings, get up and plan the day, keep a sense of humor, and make someone else feel good. Surrounded by a cadre of loyal friends who cared for him in his last days, Fryery was even able to design his own funeral’s after-party. This book is an uplifting celebration of life and gratitude. Photos. (BookLife)

Correction: A previous version of this review misstated the year Barclay Fryery died and erroneously identified Jill Johnson as the current editor of Tear Sheet magazine.