The Face I Made… A Book Review

It has been a while since I’ve reviewed a book on this blog but this book was so moving that I couldn’t help but share. 

The Face I Made When the Doctor Said I had Cancer… Again!!! is a memoir that was started by Jonathan “J.O.” Newby and was later finished by his wife, Regina Newby after he passed away from his third bout of large B cell lymphoma in 2019. 

I have the pleasure of knowing Regina, as she’s my hairstylist. While I knew some of the struggles the Newbys family has faced in recent years, I never knew the full story until I read this book. 

Seldom does a book make me cry…

This book was an exception. 

While you’ll have to read it for yourself, I’ll share some insights that I gained from this story of love, faith, pain, grief, and hope. 

J.O.’s sense of humor shines throughout his memoir. 

“That’s right. I loved cancer so much, I got it twice!” [And then later a third time.] 

While I never knew J.O., I can tell that he was a funny guy. How else could you make a road trip from Virginia to NYC in the middle of summer without air conditioning a laughter-filled adventure? 

J.O.’s ability to laugh through the pain is a testament to his resilience and I will definitely be recommending this book to my therapy clients in the future.

The book beautifully juxtapositions the first-person experiences of cancer with the living grief, hope, and pain of a family watching their “Sweet Daddy” fade away. 

Regina also shares the logistical aspects of grieving a living person, such as juggling parenthood, a career, and income loss while simultaneously being at her husband’s side as he endured painful chemotherapy, paracentesis, and CAR T cell treatments. 

“You don’t know pain until you have to tell your kids that their dad isn’t going to get better and that we have to prepare to say goodbye.”

Regina mentions in the book how therapy and her faith were instrumental as she navigated the initial grief and continues to endure the daily grief of losing her best friend. 

J.O. and Regina also do a great job explaining the technicalities of cancer in a way that’s digestible to someone without a medical background, which I appreciated. 

I highly recommend The Face I Made When the Doctor Said I had Cancer… Again!!! It is available in signed paperback and ebook. 

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