What were you doing the year you turned 21? I was a Junior in College. Academically it was my hardest year. Sophie Van Der Stap discovered she had cancer in January, which invokes an eerie feeling. I am a Capricorn. If I was in her shoes, my cancer journey would have started around my 21st birthday.
My comparison may seem a little dramatic, but cancer doesn’t discriminate. It degrades different areas of the body. Some are treatable others are fatal. Different types can appear in a family.
For example, Sophie’s mother won her battle against breast cancer, but Sophie was diagnosed with lung cancer. Genetically, she was susceptible to breast cancer. So the lung cancer diagnosis was a blind siding moment. Her mother’s victory didn’t garuntee hers. Treatment isn’t one size fits all. Sophie Van Der Stap published a memior, The Girl With Nine Wigs, about her journey in 2006.
In 2015, I received a copy to review from St. Martin’s Press. Sophie’s memior read like diary to me. As I turned each page, I thought about my campus life, academic challenges, and my goals. Sophie Van Der Stap made me think about how I would’ve navigated dating as a cancer patient? she made me think about what parts of my self would cancer chip away first.
The Girl With Nine Wigs doesn’t sum up the cancer treatment experience, but it sheds light on an important topic. In my opinion, the word cancer is being desensitized in the media. Medical breakthroughs and remesission stories make it sound less life threatening.
Reduced fatality rates doesn’t make the diagnosis and treatment options less traumatic. Although Sophie finds a way to empower herself, she still endured various verbal and nonverbal reactions from others caused by her diagnosis. Lung Cancer slowly stripped pieces of her personality and appearance.
Hair holds a significant meaning for men and women. Sudden hair loss paired with regular trips to the hospital is one of those signs of cancer that’s hard to hide. Some people wear scarves. Others decide it’s time to shave it all off. In Sophie’s case, she decided to use wigs to express herself.
To avoid spoilers, I won’t go into each wig’s personality or name. I will say this. This review has sat in my draft files for a long time. I wasn’t sure how to articulate my thoughts about Sophie Van Der Stap’s memior. That’s just from picture she painted through words. Imagine videography.
Did you know The Girl With Nine Wigs was adapted into a movie? This is news to me! According to IMDB it scored 6.8 out of 10 Stars. It sounds promising to me. The films genres are biography, drama, and comedy, which on the surface aligns with the source material. Normally, I watch the movie before I read the book. It’ll be interesting to watch it from the readers perspective.
Have you read The Girl With Nine Wigs? If so, what did you like about it?
Do you think the media is desensitizing cancer?
Are you a book to film person or film to book person?
Did you know Sophie published a novel? It’s called And What If This Were Love.