Book Reviews — 30 March 2016

Kaiyum reviews John Grisham’s latest book.

The TumorYou may have heard of this writer. You may have read one of his 35 or so books or seen one of the numerous films (such as The Firm, The Pelican Brief) based on his legal thrillers. But you’d probably not associate him with the topic of this new book.

One thing is, however, clear: we are living in a period where authenticity and (personal) passion are powerful drivers for many public figures to speak their truth, even at some potential risk to their professional image.


John GrishamPrivate/public
With this daring new book, Grisham indirectly promotes a treatment for cancer – focused ultrasound – that he became aware of through his friendship with Neal Kassell, a prominent University of Virginia neurosurgeon who founded the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in 2006. Both living in Charlottesville, they became friends, involved in the same social circle and wine tastings. Grisham calls Kassell his ‘personal brain surgeon’, although he has not needed his professional services. About eight years ago, Kassell asked Grisham to join the foundation’s board.

Advocacy
Grisham explained that he knew nothing about medical devices or medical technology and did not – with his lawyer’s background – intend to immerse himself in it. But Kassell persisted: it was not so much a question of raising cash as of raising awareness. And that Grisham as a famous writer was perfectly primed to do. Despite doubts expressed by his publishers, Grisham knew he just had to go ahead and write this book.

Neal KassellStory line
“Writers are thieves,” explains Grisham. “We steal stories. We steal names. We steal scenes. We observe the world and we take what we need and modify it.” In this case, the story and scenes weren’t overheard or imagined in courthouses or legal firms, but gleaned in long conversations over the years with Kassell.

The book is short, only 49 pages, and is available to download on Amazon or the foundation’s website. It includes illustrations, graphics and copies of brain scans, much like a promotional pamphlet at a doctor’s office.

“Kassell tells stories like this all the time,” Grisham adds. “A young person in the prime of life cut down and killed by a tumor. He’s seen the suffering. He’s been there. So I just went with it.”

It’s an easy read, written with a directness that serves to underline the tragedy of an illness seeking a solution… that is just around the corner.

New therapies
With the current monopoly of Western medicine’s approach to cancer – surgery, chemotherapy, radiation – any discussion of alternative treatment is strongly discouraged. Doctors who dare to question the effectiveness of the dogma and offer remedies that are non-invasive and work are all too frequently forced to close their practices and are even struck off the medical register. But in Grisham’s new book such a non-invasive, fast and clearly effective treatment is convincingly described in detail. Moreover, three cases are cited where the ultrasound treatment – in an experimental context – has shown how successful this approach can be.

Fundraiser?
Maybe this book can help to effect live-saving change in the cancer-treating industry. Just by downloading it and reading it, everyone can help change to happen. A shift in awareness is required, and every willingness to open up to other cancer treatment than the orthodox package, with its dubious ‘success’ rate, is a step in the right direction.

KaiyumKaiyum is a regular contributor

All articles by this author published on Osho News


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