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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
“I’ve found that being positive helps. It soothes the soul.” My mother always claimed that life was hard work. It’s certainly full of ups and downs and, to many different degrees depending on the person, lots of suffering. But there’s always joy somewhere, and that’s what we must always hold onto. When author Tihana Babic was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of eighteen, little did she know how drastically it would change her life. It had already changed things when she underwent years of pain, suffering, and lots of tests before the results found the brain tumor. Since her first diagnosis (and subsequent recurrences), Tihana has undergone multiple surgeries, treatment, therapy, and she’s seen countless doctors and medical practitioners. It’s been a difficult journey, but it’s her enduring spirit of determination and positive thinking that has driven her past the anger and forward into the future. This is the attitude she brings to her book: The Gift of a Stolen Youth: The True Story of a Woman who Beat Cancer.
Tihana Babic’s memoir The Gift of a Stolen Youth is a touching, passionate story. Told in a first-person narrative style, Tihana unveils her life, before, during, and after cancer (though, in reality, there never really is an "after cancer"). She interweaves quotes from great minds as examples of the wisdom she wants to share, which helped her through this difficult journey. Perhaps the most emotive quote, similar to my mother’s firm belief, came from German philosopher and composer Friedrich Nietzsche: “To live is to suffer. To survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.” Life is a journey, not always an easy one, and Tihana’s memoir is a sharing of one journey, marred with pain and suffering, but also a journey that she was determined would be triumphant. Tihana’s intent with her memoir is to encourage others to fight their own difficult battles with as much energy, positivity, and determination as possible. Sometimes there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if it is only a dim light. I am delighted to have had this wisdom shared with me.