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Nordie's at Noon - a Breast Cancer Memoir

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Updated December 03, 2007

Nordie's at Noon

Nordie's at Noon

Da Capo Press, Lifelong Books

The Bottom Line

Patti Balwanz, Kim Carlos, Jennifer Johnson, and Jana Peters were just 30 years old and younger when each was diagnosed with breast cancer. Jen was pregnant, Kim was raising a two-year old, Jana had just become engaged, and Patti was working as an information technology consultant. They were all young for developing breast cancer, and attending a traditional support group with women over 40 was just not for them. Instead, they met monthly at Nordstrom’s Café, to have lunch, chat, support each other, and eventually collaborate on this book.
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  • Honest and engaging, hard issues (recurrence and death) are not avoided
  • Clear prose, easy to read and understand, with glossary of medical terms
  • Each author has a unique perspective which complements the others' stories
  • None of these women whine or whimper; they fight with great energy


  • The four-author format in each chapter is sometimes cumbersome


  • Four women, ages 24 - 30, compiled their breast cancer experiences in order to help other young women.
  • This book is a portable support group for women of any age, but will be especially helpful to younger women.
  • The authors will donate part of the proceeds from this book’s sale to several nonprofit breast cancer organizations.
  • Awarded the Natalie Davis Springarn Writer’s Award in May 2007 from the National Coalition of Cancer Survivorship.
  • Published by Da Capo Press, Lifelong Books. Copyright 2006. 283 pages. ISBN-10: 0-7382-1086-2. Available in paperback.
  • Nordie’s At Noon – The Personal Stories Of Four Women “Too Young” For Breast Cancer

Guide Review - Nordie's at Noon - a Breast Cancer Memoir

Breast cancer can be aggressive in young women, which makes early detection and prompt treatment so vital. These four energetic, passionate, open-hearted young women found each other during their journeys with breast cancer, forming a monthly support group that met at the Nordstrom’s Café (dubbed "Nordie's"). I did not want to like them, but they won me over. They were sorority girls, rising young professionals with great futures, who compared themselves to the characters of the TV show "Sex and the City." But their lives were not perfect, and they were all diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30 or younger.
"There is no rhyme or reason to why you get cancer. No one promises you the answer." - Patti
This book takes you by chapters through the complete cancer journey - finding the lump, being diagnosed, sorting through treatment options, having surgery, reconstruction, chemo and radiation. Each author steps up to the microphone and gives her angle on what it was like for her. This is a strength and a weakness of this book - sometimes it's hard to keep the authors' voices separate.
"I decided to focus on living and taking chances." - Jen
The Nordie's girls dish about relationships and intimacy, and how they related to their own, or others' children. Jennifer, pregnant when diagnosed, rejoices when her baby is born with a full head of hair, with no ill effects from her chemotherapy. Two of the women experienced a recurrence to their bones. They tell honestly of the pain and emotions that follow, along with their acceptance of support and renewed treatments. In the chapter "Two Weeks," the foursome deal with Patti's death. The grace with which Patti speaks of her own approach to dying and resolving her life experience is so peaceful that she removes fear and dread from the scene.

These young warriors will inspire you - on with the fight!

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