Everyone Needs a Larry: Love with a twist of Cancer
By Jennifer Greenhut Tollin and Larry Tollin
A review by Abby Lane
Authors Jennifer Greenhut Tollin and Larry Tollin share their personal struggles with triple-negative breast cancer in the memoir, Everyone Needs a Larry. When Jennifer met Larry, she was searching for her Elton John, and Larry, a music professional who manages celebrities like Paula Abdul, writes music and plays the piano. This song writing connection kindles into friendship and then into more significant goals, such as Jennifer’s desire to become a mother. Though Larry isn’t initially interested in starting a family, one look at Jennifer encourages the baby concept, and they begin the invitro process. Larry proposes marriage after the second round of treatment and Jennifer says yes, but the third round brings devastating news.
And then while on vacation…a triple-negative breast cancer diagnosis. There’s two ways to face the disease, to label it as a curse, or a gift, but the couple, and especially Jennifer, focuses on the positive. She becomes a warrior, not a victim.
Jennifer and Larry take the reader on an intimate and sometimes raw journey, sharing their personal struggles and lessons learned while revealing the difficult days of cancer, such as coping with diagnosis, choosing an oncologist, treatment options (traditional and holistic), surgery, caregiving, and approaches to support.
The memoir is meaningful. I appreciated the style in which it was written, with Jennifer’s brave voice and Larry’s ‘bold’ interjections, which made for a compelling read with real human emotion, such as early acceptance, anger, sorrow, apprehension, outbursts, and surprising accidents, everything patients and caregivers might face after receiving a triple-negative cancer diagnosis that could result in death.
The memoir is emotional in places. The gut-wrenching honesty comforted me during a time when I faced animal illness and then loss. The narrative touches the innermost places needing consolation, enabling readers to embrace grief situations rather than surrendering to them. I particularly love this quote: “We can’t change our situation, but we can change the way we see it—that’s the true magic we have over our situations.”
It’s touching that Jennifer Greenhut Tollin began the business: “Zero Negative,” even before her cancer treatments began, in an effort to continue the fight against cancer by raising funds. The company donates to cancer research every year. You’ll ‘love’ the tote.
The memoir, Everyone Needs a Larry; a triple-negative to Zero Negative cancer journey, offers awareness to those facing similar situations, while imparting thoughtful inspiration, practical tips, and poignant humor that will keep you reading until the very last page.
Recommended for anyone facing cancer diagnosis or other grief situations.
Abby Lane, a Reedsy Discovery reviewer, received this memoir in exchange for a fair and honest review. Read the original review here.