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Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
Toxic Relief by Baheya Zeitoun is a terrifying and emotional story of a woman who is trying to accept her future. Sarah was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer when she was in her early twenties and she fought it off. She concentrated on making her parents proud of her, following their directions, and preparing herself for the day she would take over her mother’s jewelry company. While being promoted helped her showcase her designs and get recognition for her talent, she thrived on the pressure even if it took a toll on her body. However, the success at work somehow derailed her focus from her health and that was the biggest mistake she could ever make. Before she knew it, her cancer had metastasized and there wasn’t much she could do about it. After that, things just went out of her hands and her life was ruled by her disease. Will she get a chance to live?
Toxic Relief by Baheya Zeitoun was a sad and terrifying real story. Sarah can be anyone around us and that scares me. The author shared the bitter reality of cancer and how it sucked the life out of Sarah. The transition between the present, the past, and then back to the present was stark. I could see how full of life she was, how ready she was to be someone, and how the disease took it all from her. It was painful how she had to let go of everything she loved because of a disease. The way she lost Pierre was hard and devastating. I hated the parts where Sarah felt desperate or incompetent. While the story was sad and gloomy, the little pleasures Sarah found were very hopeful. Her grandmother’s diamond necklace, the time she spent in Paris, her relationship with Pierre, and even the time she got to work on her designs brought her simple pleasures. This is a harsh wake-up call that life is short. This was not an easy novel to read, but it was worth all the tears I spilled.