I Want to Grow Hair, I Want to Grow Up, I Want to Go to Boise Summary

Erma Bombeck

I Want to Grow Hair, I Want to Grow Up, I Want to Go to Boise

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

This is anything but a depressing book, although on occasion the reader may catch a breath or experience a lump in the throat. Essentially, what Bombeck presents is a series of anecdotes, interviews, and informed observations regarding the treatment of cancer in children and young adults.

Among the topics considered are how to handle the loss of hair, repeatedly, from chemotherapy, the advantages and disadvantages of amputation, and what happens when “prednisone pigout” strikes. Bombeck does not concentrate solely on the manifest heroism of the victims; she discusses, with sensitivity and considerable insight, the courage and mental anguish of parents, siblings, and neighbors as well. In fact, the most impressive chapters in this slim volume are those entitled “What’s a Mother For,” “What Are Fathers For,” and “What Are Friends For.” Each chapter provides a wealth of information and advice which should serve to relieve the isolation felt by anyone faced with the experience of dealing with childhood cancer.

Professionals in a variety of disciplines produce weighty tomes every year on the subject of cancer and the psychological effects on the victims, their relatives, and even those who care for both. This is not such a book, but it nevertheless performs the same service without a welter of jargon and statistics. Everyone should read it.