I just checked her Facebook page, and Suzanne Samples has been posting the last few days, so I assume she is still alive. I checked the website of Appalachian State University, and it still lists her as a member of their English faculty. I checked, and there really is a Harrisville, West Virginia, in Ritchie County, kinda half way between Clarksburg and Parkersburg. Why all the checking? Because what this memoir does is to tell us what is going through the head of a woman from Harrisville, West Virginia, who teaches English at Happy Appy and has been diagnosed with a frontal lobe glioblastoma multiforme – brain cancer - at 36. No, this is not a depressing book to read. In fact it is very compelling and hard to put down. It doesn’t have any real chapters, but when it tells about what is going on in Harrisville, it puts “west virginia” in italics before it begins, and it does the same for “boone, north carolina” and for “wake forest baptist hospital, comprehensive cancer center, the dash,” or simply “the dash,” or even the name of a hotel and sometimes even “nowhere.” This breaks the text up every few pages very nicely without the need for chapters. I’m really glad that Suzanne Samples is still alive and that there is a zany publisher in one of my favorite places to visit – Bodega Bay, California - that is willing to publish such a cool book as this.
Bodega Bay, California: Running Wild Press, 2018. 255 pages. Trade paperback.