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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Book Review: Laura Roppé – Woobie

Laura Roppé – Woobie
Laura Roppé was a lawyer, wife, mother and nascent singer/songwriter when the call came.  It was her surgeon on the phone, and the diagnosis was a rare and aggressive form of triple negative breast cancer.  It was a sucker punch from life to a woman to whom nothing bad had ever happened.  Laura Roppé documents her experience with cancer in a new book in 2011 entitled Woobie.  While Roppé certainly shares her path to what she hopes will be remission, she alternates these stories with stories of family, friends and an engaging personal history that not only details the steps to a life-altering disease and the sort of semi-charmed life of which movies (and certainly) books, are made.
Roppé isn’t afraid to name drop along the way, detailing life experiences that include contact with the likes of Troy Aikman, Val Kilmer, Oliver Stone, Pooh Richardson, Jack Black, Meatloaf and Jon Anderson (Yes).  What is most striking about Woobie, however, is the utter lack of pretention to the entire book.  Roppé writes with the sort of giddy self-awareness of someone who has stared death in the face and lived to tell the tale, but avoids the sort of gamey narcissism that can overtake such projects.  Roppé finds strength in family, friendship and her newly born career in music, developing a new understanding of what in life is important in the process. 
Woobie is a reference to a child’s ward of protection, and the title is well chosen.  In Roppé’s case her Woobie is her husband Brad, who stands by her throughout the entire process of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.  Appropriately, Woobie is a love story.  It’s a story of survival and rebirth.  It’s story of the magic of small truths.  Roppé shows us that even in the midst of tragedy; it’s never too late to become the person we’re meant to be.  Woobie is nothing less than inspirational.  While the book starts a bit slowly as Roppé finds her voice as an author, she quickly owns her medium and becomes the sort of animated and personable story-teller that that draws readers in. 
Woobie is a must-read for anyone who has lived through or been diagnosed with Breast Cancer or most any other type of cancer.  Roppé inspires even in her darkest moments by holding on to truths both great and small.  In the end, as a survivor, Roppé maintains those truths and she resumes the chase for her dreams.  Like many before her, Roppé is empowered by her experiences, but Woobie serves to empower others.  Roppé spins a tale that takes into account the magic and misery of her diagnosis, treatment and ultimate survival of the darkest nemesis she’s faced.  Roppé infuses her epic story with tales of friends, acquaintances and experiences that shaped her into someone who could look cancer in the face and not blink.  Woobie ultimately transcends its genre in much the way Laura Roppé has transcended Cancer; with grit, charm, humor and a little bit of magic.
Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about Laura Roppé at or  Woobie will be published sometime in 2011.  Keep checking Roppé's website for additional information.

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