HUNDRED PERCENT CHANCE follows the story of a twenty-year old college student who was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia while studying overseas in Lancaster, England. He notices -- and then ignores -- a slew of obvious early symptoms, as you might expect from someone at that age so far from home.
This memoir is funny and angry and hopeful and sad and realistic. A coming-of-age story with cancer, set mostly in Seattle of the early nineties, it does not pretend that the path to lasting health comes easily or that a sunny disposition is all you need for everything to work out. It is about much more than just beating cancer: tackling adversity through patience and perseverance, stumbling often and getting back up anyway, leaning on laughter and love and friendship to find a path through the challenges life throws our way.
Brown’s straightforward, unpretentious writing style is compelling and brutally honest. The use of present tense, first person, amplifies the effect. His wry sense of humor is both endearing and heartbreaking. After learning he was in remission, Brown quips, "It's great to be in remission. Great with a capital ‘G’ and a Tony the Tiger drawl." Neither victim nor hero, the author survived with humor, grit, and the support of medical care-givers, family and friends.
Regardless of one’s personal experience with cancer or critical illness, these pages relate an essential human experience: the struggle to survive against the odds. This universal theme will resonate with almost any reader.
While the content of the book is raw, brutal, and honest, it is Brown’s lively, rebellious attitude—and understanding that he was lucky to go into remission so quickly and to receive such excellent care—that makes this book a triumph. Every awful moment is balanced by arresting, rambunctious prose, and the book’s personality is magnetic. Descriptions of painful experiences are poignant, and both Brown’s internal and external worlds are illustrated with earnestness.
Told in chronological order and evenly paced, the book flows from one event to the next. Every scene plays an important role, whether it’s placing an experience in the context of the setting, further sharpening focus on a particular person’s influence, or deepening emotional impact. Still, as Brown says, there are no “boundless epiphanies about the importance of embracing life” here, and no “bolt of lightning [where] your narrator is forever changed.” There is only moving on and taking life one day at a time.
Hundred Percent Chance is an inspiring, provocative memoir about dealing with cancer that maintains its sense of humor when the going gets rough.
A realistic, in-your-face honest and down-to-earth memoir about the rigors of treating and surviving cancer, handled with both intimacy and concern.
Brown’s writing is lively and lyrical, with moments of intense description offset by humorous ones ... For those interested in seeing the toll leukemia can take on a young, healthy person, Brown’s account offers the details in searing prose.
An intense, deftly composed cancer narrative.
The writing is gorgeous, almost lyrical, and it captures the voice of a young man in the '90s, one filled with strength and eloquence. Hundred Percent Chance: A Memoir evokes powerful emotions in readers -- hope and despair, joy and frustration, love and pain -- but the throbbing life within the protagonist, a life that permeates the narrative, will keep readers turning the pages.