Fighting Cancer In The Family

Ariel Gore's look at cancer in the family, and thoughts of her "crazy dying mother."

| March 2014

  • The author learns that her mother is fighting cancer, and that the doctors have given her only a few months to live.
    Photo by Fotolia/
  • "The End of Eve" is Ariel Gore's elegant and "absurdly happy" look at cancer in the family, and how the disease affects all she cares about.
    Cover courtesy Hawthorne Books & Literary Arts

The End of Eve (Hawthorne Books & Literary Arts, 2014) is author Ariel Gore’s tough and elegant recounting of her mother’s sickness and final days. With prose that is dark and humorous, Gore reveals how she took on the care of her “crazy dying mother”, and how she came to a reappraisal of the meanings of loyalty and love. Excerpted below is the first chapter, titled “All About Eve.”

I must have been ten years old when my mother took me to see Mommie Dearest and then bragged to her friends that I’d laughed through the wire hanger scene.

She riffed on the joke at home, applying that thick white facial mask and bursting into the dark of my bedroom with the wire hanger as I slept. I’d wake terrified, her slim figure a silhouette above me, the hanger in her fist poised to come down on me. But even in interrupted half-sleep I knew my cue: I laughed. And then she wouldn’t hit me.