I didn’t feel well over the weekend and so I got a lot of reading done. Out of the six books I’ve read since last Friday night, “Reconstructing Natalie” was by far my favorite.
Natalie is twenty-seven and unmarried, but she thinks that might be about to change – there’s a new man in her life and he seems to be perfect in every way. She’s got a good job working in her parents’ company, and she’s living practically rent-free in her parents’ guesthouse. She has good friends and she loves her life.
But one day while trying on a swimsuit, she discovers a lump in her breast. Thinking she just needs to cut down on caffeine, she vows to switch to herbal tea, but the lump doesn’t go away. Heading into see her OB-GYN, she has an exam, which becomes a biopsy, which becomes a diagnosis of cancer.
Breaking the news to her friends and family is the hardest thing she’s ever done. One friend, whose mother died from cancer, can’t even talk to her for several days, her fear is so great. Another friend reacts by becoming the life of the party, trying to keep Natalie from succumbing to despair. Her boyfriend completely vanishes off the face of the earth. Her parents are devastated. Her mainstay becomes Andy, widowed father of Josh next door, who’s always been like a brother to her. With a little “nephew” like Josh to keep her cheered up and Andy’s shoulder to cry on, Natalie thinks she just might make it through.
She decides to have a double mastectomy, as the type of cancer she has is known to spread easily. The book takes us through her surgery, recovery and chemotherapy, showing us the soreness, the sickness, the feelings of helplessness, but also giving us a glimpse into what it’s like to deal with trials with courage and humor. A Christian novel, it doesn’t overwhelm with sermons but rather works them in through situations. I loved this book’s down-to-earth way of showing us the situation, making it real, and showing how it can be overcome. I wanted these women to be my own friends by the time I was finished with this read.
(This book was published in 2006 by WestBow Press and won the Women of Faith Novel of the Year Award.)