Friday, May 09, 2014

Review: From the Feet Up by Tanya Saad

Title: From the Feet Up
Author: Tanya Saad
Genre: Memoir
Publication Date: 1st April 2014
Pages: 432
Book Source: Morey Media

Synopsis: Tanya Saad’s life wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t far off. Happily occupied with a demanding job, the competitive cycling she loved and the support of her irrepressible family, she wasn’t given to introspection. Then the thunderbolt hit. At the age of 30, Tanya discovered she had tested positive for the BRCA1 gene: a gene that meant her chances of developing breast and ovarian cancer young just increased exponentially. Worse was to come when one of her beloved younger sisters tested positive, too.

A resilient personality, Tanya was used to meeting challenges. Growing up as part of a Lebanese family in a small NSW country town then coming out as a gay woman in a conservative environment meant she was used to conflict. But there were tough decisions ahead — should she have her breasts and ovaries removed before the disease took hold? Still a young woman, yet to find a partner, would she have time to have children?

Told with great verve and humour, this memoir questions what it is that makes you a woman, shows how to meet adversity with courage and grace and offers some surprising revelations along the way. As Tanya says, ‘the profound moments in your life are not about getting what you want, they are about discovering who you are.

My Thoughts:
Tanya Saad's memoir is compelling, articulate, informative and moving. With the hereditary BRCA1 gene mutation and Tanya's family history it wasn't a case of if she got ovarian and/or breast cancer but when. Preventative treatment choices are confronting and life changing on both a physical and emotional level ... bilateral mastectomy, removal of fallopian tubes and ovaries but in terms of risk management, they're also life-affirming.  

Tanya's childhood and family recollections are woven through the adult narrative; growing up in the small, country town of Taree, her Lebanese heritage, bullied in school, work in the family shoe store, the bond between herself and sisters, Paula and Vivian, their 3 month holiday to Lebanon in 1990 just months after the end of the civil war, her beautiful relationship with grandmother Teta.  

As an adult Tanya moves on from Taree, to Canberra and a successful career and competitive sporting life. Following confirmation that Tanya, along with her sister Paula, had the BRCA1 gene fault, Tanya frankly shares the emotions, statistics, screenings, surgical choices, skin/nipple sparing/reconstruction options, and her ultimate decisions. 

I love Paula and Tanya's  'mantra' adapted from the movie Cool Runnings ..

I have pride, I have power. I'm a badass mother that don't take no crap from nobody.

A read rich in culture and courage, a tribute to the ordinary - extraordinary women (and to a lesser extent men) faced with harmful BRCA gene mutations. 

Knowledge is  Power

Connect with Tanya Saad

Purchase From the Feet Up
@Amazon only $3.60


  1. Wow! This sounds pretty powerful!!!

    1. I think I found it even more compelling coming from an 'ordinary', everyday person, if that makes sense Julie.

  2. Replies
    1. thanks Shelleyrae, Tanya Saad writes very well.

  3. Replies
    1. well I hope you give it a go B, it's not a depressing read, quite the opposite :)


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