Beyond the Happy Hurrahs

A Memoir of Hope after Cancer

Non-Fiction - Inspirational
156 Pages
Reviewed on 12/15/2022
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Author Biography

Lila is a native Montrealer. She has lectured at Dalhousie University in Halifax and also earned a part-time professorship at the University of Ottawa in the School of Rehabilitation Sciences. Eight years after she entered the world of health care management, while sole charge of her two young adult sons, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, one of the deadliest there is for women today.

Determined to achieve a successful and complete recovery, she joined a local cancer treatment center and explored diet, exercise, reiki, self-hypnosis, visualization as well as other forms of integrative healing. She studied and also learned the ancient practice of Taoist Tai Chi, which she continues to this day. The often less recognized challenges one continues to face while trying to get back to life again after recovery from cancer are what has prompted her to share her story. Her hope is to support others in the healing process not only through the story she shares, but by offering a deep and soulful reflection on the meaning it has given her life more than ten years later.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Beyond the Happy Hurrahs: A Memoir of Hope after Cancer by Lila Zitouni chronicles the author’s life as she navigates through a cervical and ovarian cancer diagnosis and all that follows. Zitouni begins her story with the end of her relationship and then transitions back to the moments of diagnosis, the surgery, and the chemotherapy that follows. She discusses the physical transformations and overwhelming shift of emotions, and the reliance on both family and friends to help her through the most difficult phases. Several unexpected changes occur, including the gradual disappearance of friends and the devastating financial toll. Through it all, Zitouni navigates this new, uncharted life path as best she can with the love and support of her nuclear tribe and an angel that frequently lights the way.

As someone who held my wife's hand as she went through a similar experience, I am always drawn to books that go beyond the usual step-by-step of what occurred and dig deeper into the heart of the experience. Beyond the Happy Hurrahs by Lila Zitouni does exactly this. The profound honesty of what Zitouni went through and how she felt is often heart-wrenching, and the authenticity of her voice lends to how she connects to readers. That said, the most interesting parts to me are the ones that usually get relegated to a backburner or disregarded in similar books, such as the dating landscape. Zitouni describes the usual perils of online dating until she makes a match; the relationship feels organic as it grows, despite distance and differences in lifestyle. Three years later with Zitouni ready to retire, there's a make-or-break moment that I absolutely did not see coming. It is yet another reminder of how cancer has positively shaped Zitouni's outlook and her determination not to live a life on the second rung. This is indeed an inspiring read I recommend.


A beautifully written and insightful memoir. I could not put it down and plan to read it again. I ordered an extra copy for a relative who has been undergoing chemotherapy for the past two years. I know this has helped me better understand cancer from a patient perspective and I know my relative will find common ground and affirmation in Lila's memoir.


A captivating story of facing one's mortality and moving through many challenges with grace and maturity. I admire the author's positive attitude, humility, and dogged determination that helped her navigate through this difficult time. So well written, it feels as though you are there hearing her thoughts and experiencing her feelings. This helps to appreciate at least one person's experience of surviving cancer. An excellent book worth reading.

Terry Rudden

What sets this book apart from the many chronicles of cancer and recovery is the author's extraordinary depth of insight, self-awareness, and willingness to share the way her experience challenged and reshaped her entire perception of herself. The honesty and intimacy of the book are reminiscent of a long, deep conversation with a good friend around a winter fireplace.


Lila’s crisis of a cancer diagnosis evolves from the initial shock into a spiritual journey. Acceptance becomes surrender and trust in a higher power, gratitude and grace. That is really all we can do when presented with a life altering event. Stay positive, do what we can and trust.

This is an uplifting story for anyone with a scary diagnosis. It is easy to identify with Lila . She writes from the heart.

Big Jim

A beautiful little book that gives the feeling of sitting with the author through the most trying experiences/challenges (life changing health issues) while carrying the responsibilities of every day life (choosing a living space, moving, juggling a busy career) and keeping the best interests of family/loved ones as the foremost priority. Inspiring!

Yoland F.

The author of this book dealt with critical issues with such grace and confidence. I admired how she could put her thoughts into perspective, and continue on with being grateful for her own life. I couldn't put this book down. All in all, it was a great read!