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When Life Gives You Pears: The Healing Power of Family, Faith, and Funny People

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The Big Sick meets Dad is Fat in this funny and heartfelt New York Times bestselling memoir from writer, director, wife, and mother, Jeannie Gaffigan, as she reflects on the life-changing impact of her battle with a pear-sized brain tumor. In 2017, Jeannie's life came to a crashing halt when she was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor. As the mother of 5 kids -- 6 The Big Sick meets Dad is Fat in this funny and heartfelt New York Times bestselling memoir from writer, director, wife, and mother, Jeannie Gaffigan, as she reflects on the life-changing impact of her battle with a pear-sized brain tumor. In 2017, Jeannie's life came to a crashing halt when she was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor. As the mother of 5 kids -- 6 if you include her husband -- sat in the neurosurgery department in star-covered sweats too whimsical for the seriousness of the situation, all she could think was "Am I going to die?" Thankfully, Jeannie and her family were able to survive their time of crisis, and now she is sharing her deeply personal journey through this miraculous story: the challenging conversations she had with her children; how she came to terms with feeling powerless and ferociously crabby while bedridden and unable to eat for a month; and how she ultimately learned, re-learned and re re-learned to be more present in life. With sincerity and hilarity, Jeannie invites you into her heart (and brain) during this trying time, emphasizing the importance of family, faith and humor as keys to her recovery and leading a more fulfilling life.


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The Big Sick meets Dad is Fat in this funny and heartfelt New York Times bestselling memoir from writer, director, wife, and mother, Jeannie Gaffigan, as she reflects on the life-changing impact of her battle with a pear-sized brain tumor. In 2017, Jeannie's life came to a crashing halt when she was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor. As the mother of 5 kids -- 6 The Big Sick meets Dad is Fat in this funny and heartfelt New York Times bestselling memoir from writer, director, wife, and mother, Jeannie Gaffigan, as she reflects on the life-changing impact of her battle with a pear-sized brain tumor. In 2017, Jeannie's life came to a crashing halt when she was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor. As the mother of 5 kids -- 6 if you include her husband -- sat in the neurosurgery department in star-covered sweats too whimsical for the seriousness of the situation, all she could think was "Am I going to die?" Thankfully, Jeannie and her family were able to survive their time of crisis, and now she is sharing her deeply personal journey through this miraculous story: the challenging conversations she had with her children; how she came to terms with feeling powerless and ferociously crabby while bedridden and unable to eat for a month; and how she ultimately learned, re-learned and re re-learned to be more present in life. With sincerity and hilarity, Jeannie invites you into her heart (and brain) during this trying time, emphasizing the importance of family, faith and humor as keys to her recovery and leading a more fulfilling life.

30 review for When Life Gives You Pears: The Healing Power of Family, Faith, and Funny People

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carole

    When Life Gives You Pears by Jeannie Gaffigan is a memoir of the journey of a wife and mother of five and business partner, diagnosed with a brain tumour. Jeannie Gaffigan is the spouse of comedian Jim Gaffigan. Together, as a family, they faced uncertainty, fear, surgery, a long recovery period and adapting to a new kind of life, all of it done with strength, love, a sense of humour and a positive attitude. This is an example of grace under pressure. I will remember this book for a long time an When Life Gives You Pears by Jeannie Gaffigan is a memoir of the journey of a wife and mother of five and business partner, diagnosed with a brain tumour. Jeannie Gaffigan is the spouse of comedian Jim Gaffigan. Together, as a family, they faced uncertainty, fear, surgery, a long recovery period and adapting to a new kind of life, all of it done with strength, love, a sense of humour and a positive attitude. This is an example of grace under pressure. I will remember this book for a long time and use its wisdom if life gives pears.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jim Higgins

    4.5 stars. Certainly the funniest book about surviving a brain tumor I've ever read. 4.5 stars. Certainly the funniest book about surviving a brain tumor I've ever read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    Sincerity, hilarity, heartfelt love, & with SuperMom charm Jeannie is someone we should all welcome in to our homes. Prior to this Goodreads giveaway I had no idea about Jeannie and her career. However after reading this I feel like we are the best of friends. I'm an empath. I feel emotion more than anyone else and this was chock full of nuts, soul, and compassion. It will have you laugh, cry, and split your pants laughing.... Can you imagine a brain tumor can somehow put your whole life and future Sincerity, hilarity, heartfelt love, & with SuperMom charm Jeannie is someone we should all welcome in to our homes. Prior to this Goodreads giveaway I had no idea about Jeannie and her career. However after reading this I feel like we are the best of friends. I'm an empath. I feel emotion more than anyone else and this was chock full of nuts, soul, and compassion. It will have you laugh, cry, and split your pants laughing.... Can you imagine a brain tumor can somehow put your whole life and future into an entirely different realm? One that is positive for all? I can't imagine her pain, her adversity, her courage to face the unthinkable. What I can note is I've had a friend die from brain cancer and he always had carried this backpack around with him. I had no idea that backpack was to keep him alive. I later learned he had stage 4 glioblastoma and passed away rather quickly from initial diagnosis leaving behind a wife and two handsome boys. I say this because life is short. Life must be lived to the fullest. I believe after reading this Jeannine had several angels on her shoulder. I also believe it was meant for a reason. To slow down and enjoy what she may have been taking advantage of all those years. While she mentioned she's not going to write about God and faith she definitely has been touched by someone from up above. Her relationship with her family and friends has clearly grown from this alarming situation. What we fail to realize is the toll it takes upon our loved ones when Super Moms get sick. Jeannine is lucky to have such great support as not all of us have such a supportive system in place.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amy Oechsner

    This was a deeply personal story. I am a huge fan of Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan and I was there on Instagram when Jeannie had her brain surgery. It shocked all of us fans because we know of the two, Jeannie is the "health nut" and she is so young, and they have 5 kids. I felt a personal connection to this book because for 4 years, I have seen Jim Gaffigan perform here in Milwaukee on New Year's Eve (please come back, we miss you Jim!) and we (the audience) enjoy knowing that he is here for the hol This was a deeply personal story. I am a huge fan of Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan and I was there on Instagram when Jeannie had her brain surgery. It shocked all of us fans because we know of the two, Jeannie is the "health nut" and she is so young, and they have 5 kids. I felt a personal connection to this book because for 4 years, I have seen Jim Gaffigan perform here in Milwaukee on New Year's Eve (please come back, we miss you Jim!) and we (the audience) enjoy knowing that he is here for the holidays spending time with his wife's family that live here. I also felt personally connected because Jeannie talks about Lake Park, Froedert, and Columbia Hospital. I have 3 kids and I can't imagine, and maybe I am a control freak like Jeannie is, but still, I can't imagine going from our normal hectic crazy everyday schedule, to going into brain surgery, not knowing if I would come out alive or be the same physically/mentally again. This story is about resilience. Jeannie is a fighter, and even in the worst of times, she realizes the beauty of this terrible situation. She finds a new lease on life and she learns what life is really about, enjoying the moment and being good to others. I loved this book, and it was hard to put down. I have always admired Jeannie and Jim's marriage. Jeannie gets very personal in this book and you see that their marriage definitely went through some very hard times. I enjoyed Jeannie talking about her faith and how God worked miracles into her diagnosis, surgery, and recovery. This is a must read for any Gaffigan fan!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    If you’re feeling down and need a little perspective- this would be a great read for you. This is a great reminder to appreciate the moments and people in your life. It’s also a great reminder to always laugh!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Proffitt

    This is an ambling, autobiographical, introspective telling of the author's medical crisis when a tumor is found in her brain. Jeannie is a decent writer and she's open and vulnerable, so I connected with it early and was engaged throughout. Most of the humor didn't really connect for me, but the heartfelt faith and introspection drew me in well-enough. And I'm finding I don't have much extra to say about it or the experience reading it. Most of her insights are rather obvious, really. But I don' This is an ambling, autobiographical, introspective telling of the author's medical crisis when a tumor is found in her brain. Jeannie is a decent writer and she's open and vulnerable, so I connected with it early and was engaged throughout. Most of the humor didn't really connect for me, but the heartfelt faith and introspection drew me in well-enough. And I'm finding I don't have much extra to say about it or the experience reading it. Most of her insights are rather obvious, really. But I don't think that's a bad thing. And her sincerity and humility give it enough power to drive those points home in ways that have meaning beyond merely herself. I think she's at her best in telling of her faith and family and this is very much a faith-affirming story. Which has the drawback that it probably won't connect terribly well for those without a similar foundation in faith. Which worked great for me, but likely limits the audience a good deal, too. Anyway, I'm going to give this a really soft four stars. Parts of this moved me deeply and make it hard for me to go lower. But there were uninteresting slumps where the humor wasn't connecting and I felt like skimming to the next chapter. So a good read, personally, but I don't know that I'd recommend it for anyone else.

  7. 5 out of 5

    ABookwormWithWine

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5 I absolutely loved When Life Gives You Pears: The Healing Power of Family, Faith, and Funny People by Jeannie Gaffigan, and if you can I highly recommend listening to it on audiobook! Jeannie Gaffigan is definitely one badass woman, and I loved listening to her story. The book touches on everything from family to faith, and she talks about what happened from before she found out about the tumor to her recovery process. I listened to the audiobook which has a forward by Jim Gaffigan ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5 I absolutely loved When Life Gives You Pears: The Healing Power of Family, Faith, and Funny People by Jeannie Gaffigan, and if you can I highly recommend listening to it on audiobook! Jeannie Gaffigan is definitely one badass woman, and I loved listening to her story. The book touches on everything from family to faith, and she talks about what happened from before she found out about the tumor to her recovery process. I listened to the audiobook which has a forward by Jim Gaffigan and is read by both Jeannie and her sister Liz since her voice isn't back to normal. I can only imagine how difficult it was for her to talk for hours just to record this book, and how exhausting it must have been. Her recovery process was no joke and I was deeply moved by everything she had to go through. I love Jim Gaffigan and now I love Jeannie just as much after this incredibly personal story. When Life Gives You Pears also talks about how they met which I absolutely loved. I really like knowing more about them and their family, and this book was really touching. Although it does talk about faith, it doesn't overpower the book so if you aren't a believer you should still enjoy it. Song/s the book brought to mind: Un Lugar Celestial (A Heavenly Place) by Jaci Velasquez Final Thought: I could literally just spew wonderful things about this book all day long, but I will wrap this up. When Life Gives You Pears is full of humor and heart, and you will definitely shed a few tears. Jeannie's positivity is truly an inspiration, and if you are a fan of the Gaffigan's this is definitely going to be a must read/listen!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    I've been squeezing in all the short books so I can make it to my reading goal for the year. That is why this one landed on my TBR list. This is a the memoir/autobiography of Jeanie Gaffigan and her battle with a brain tumor. Overall, this was just okay for me. While I appreciated the battle, her family life, and positive attitude, this fell a little flat for me. This wasn't my kind of humor. More than a few times, instead of getting real, she went for the punch line. Maybe if we shared the same I've been squeezing in all the short books so I can make it to my reading goal for the year. That is why this one landed on my TBR list. This is a the memoir/autobiography of Jeanie Gaffigan and her battle with a brain tumor. Overall, this was just okay for me. While I appreciated the battle, her family life, and positive attitude, this fell a little flat for me. This wasn't my kind of humor. More than a few times, instead of getting real, she went for the punch line. Maybe if we shared the same humor, I would have been entertained, but sadly, that wasn't the case. So 2 stars.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Richard Propes

    I'm sitting here in my Indianapolis home about two months after amputation of my left leg above the knee. While this may sound dramatic (it is), it's simply the latest stop on my lifelong journey as a paraplegic with spina bifida who became a double below-knee amputee in my early 20's. The amputation happened after a 10-day hospitalization due to severe dehydration, a high risk for folks with spina bifida that was coupled with severe infections. I'm healing. Well, except my left leg. It's gone. I'm sitting here in my Indianapolis home about two months after amputation of my left leg above the knee. While this may sound dramatic (it is), it's simply the latest stop on my lifelong journey as a paraplegic with spina bifida who became a double below-knee amputee in my early 20's. The amputation happened after a 10-day hospitalization due to severe dehydration, a high risk for folks with spina bifida that was coupled with severe infections. I'm healing. Well, except my left leg. It's gone. I'm figuring out what it means to live this life. I'm having to re-learn almost every aspect of life from transfers to showering to getting into bed to toileting to how I sleep and how I drive. I've been off work for two months and likely have another month to go. I reflected on my own journey a lot while reading Jeannie Gaffigan's "When Life Gives You Pears: The Healing Power of Family, Faith, and Funny People." If you like the comic Jim Gaffigan, her husband and partner in all things creative including parenting and most of Jim's shows, you'll likely love him after reading this book because this book makes him sound exactly like the Jim Gaffigan you want him to be. You'll also learn a lot more about Jeannie, who is very much an equal partner in Jim's work yet who largely has spent her professional career working behind-the-scenes and out of the spotlight despite having her own background in theater. You will likely adore her and either want to have coffee with her or want to do some theater with her. The two make quite the pear (Sorry, I couldn't resist). It's obvious that Jeannie is his co-writer, because as you read this book you'll likely start hearing Jim's voice at times. They obviously have complementary senses of humor and you can feel that throughout the book. If you've ever dealt with serious illness, you'll likely appreciate "When Life Gives You Pears" even if you don't quite get into the rhythm of its humor. I'm a huge Gaffigan fan and embraced the humor. If you like stories about the importance of family or the importance of faith or the importance of a sense of humor during the hard times, then you'll also likely embrace this book. While Gaffigan doesn't overwhelm with the faith angle, she's a devout Catholic, the faith is there and she shows up authentically with it. Jim and Jeannie have five kids - so, of course, family is important. They also both come from large families - families that showed up en masse when Jeannie was diagnosed with a benign, yet life threatening, pear-sized brain tumor. I loved "When Life Gives You Pears," though I initially struggled a bit to get into its rhythm. Do I think it's a 5-star book? Not quite. I love that Gaffigan writes authentically. At times, you almost feel like she's having a conversation with you. However, at times, it's also sort of stream-of-consciousness and that stream can interrupt a really good dramatic flow. At times, she diverts from a great story with an anecdote that's not necessarily so great. I also found the ending a bit unsatisfying - sort of anti-climactic. I mean, yeah, I knew she survived the the brain tumor. It's really hard to write a book about surviving a brain tumor if you didn't actually survive the brain tumor, but there's this abrupt shift about 30-40 pages from the end where we go from discussing hardcore medical concerns into basically the story of how Jim and Jeannie met then into "I'm grateful for the tumor." While the "Jeannie meets Jim" section sort of maintains the book's tone, the whole "I'm grateful" just didn't quite click for me. I mean, I'm glad she's grateful and I get it - it's just written differently and left me feeling differently than I'd felt the entire book. There's one other aspect of the book that bothered me and I'm almost hesitant to mention it. Yet, I can't deny that it bothered me. She writes an entire book about her experiences with a life-threatening brain tumor. Early on in the book, she writes about the connections that helped her get seen quickly and essentially bypass the normal procedures and head straight up to see the head of Mt. Sinai's Neurosurgery Department. She writes about all the tests, the surgeries, the time in ICU, the procedures, the home health, the professionals who entered her home, and much more. I couldn't help but wonder if she realized the privilege that exists in all of these things. She never, at least that I can remember, mentions the financial aspect of all of this journey. I will assume she was insured, though certainly she and Jim are major successes in the comedy field. When she and Jim first met, she was working with children who could be considered at risk. Does she realize that she was privileged to have access to and to be able afford the top-notch healthcare that she writes about? I really wanted somewhere in the book for her to acknowledge it - not to apologize for it, because she and Jim have worked hard for it and earned it - but to acknowledge it because there's simply no denying that having access to quality, consistent healthcare increases your likelihood of healing and recovery. Maybe I'm a little more in-tune with this right now. I'm sitting at home trying to learn how to put a wheelchair in my car because there's simply no way I can afford an accessible van that I now need. I don't begrudge her having access to all those wonders that helped her heal, but it's a privilege so many others simply don't have. Jeannie and Jim sound like amazing people - I wanted to get to know both of them here, but this book was a golden opportunity not necessarily to go political but to be able to say "thank you" that I had enough to assemble this amazing team. She thanks the amazing team, which is awesome because they did amazing work. She thanks her family, profusely. I mean, I even get into my own sense of privilege. I've been off two months, but I'm still getting paid. I still have a job to go back to. I have insurance that has a maximum out of pocket expenditure. I've lost everything in my life twice - literally living in my car - because of my body. This time, I didn't have that risk. What a privilege. Okay, I'm off my soapbox now. Seriously, I truly loved this book and while I think she could have done a little less rambling and taken the book into some even deeper places I think it's a vital book and an enjoyable read. While I can't quite go the 5-star rating, I'll easily give it up a thumbs up and 4-stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lee Woodruff

    Being half of a comedy-writing duo, (and married to a famous comedian) doesn’t inoculate you from the bad thing in life. But it does ensure that when you write a memoir about getting a pear-shaped brain tumor as the mother of five young children at the peak of your career, it’s going to be funny. In fact Gaffigan’s writing takes a bad thing and finds a humorous and witty way to make, well, pear-ade out of pears. I met Jeannie Gaffigan outside the skanky women’s bathroom in the basement of NYC’s Being half of a comedy-writing duo, (and married to a famous comedian) doesn’t inoculate you from the bad thing in life. But it does ensure that when you write a memoir about getting a pear-shaped brain tumor as the mother of five young children at the peak of your career, it’s going to be funny. In fact Gaffigan’s writing takes a bad thing and finds a humorous and witty way to make, well, pear-ade out of pears. I met Jeannie Gaffigan outside the skanky women’s bathroom in the basement of NYC’s Town Hall, where her husband Jim was performing at one of our early “Stand UP for Heroes” veteran fundraisers. While squat-peeing in the dusty basement bathroom, my borrowed Cartier diamond bracelet dropped in the toilet. And Jeannie was just the kind of friend to fish it right out with bare hands and without hesitating. I’ve loved her ever since. So, beyond the humor, black-hearted honesty, bald-faced truisms and the universal parenting snapshots, the book contains serious moments about faith, what really matters and the many gifts of discovery in Jeannie’s miraculous recovery (spoiler alert—she survives and is as funny as ever, maybe more so.) If Tina Fey had three more kids and needed brain surgery (God forbid) this is the book she would write.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Rogers

    What a great book! I have to say Jeannie's ability to take a nightmare like a pearsized tumor on her brain stem and turn it into a delightful read is pretty amazing. I laughed and cried reading this book and was inspired! As a fellow lover of a to do list and mom of 5 who wears many hats, I really related to her discussions on life and the struggle she experienced when she was out the desired of control-mode. I plan to strive to implement her encouraged to do list this next year: 1. Spend more q What a great book! I have to say Jeannie's ability to take a nightmare like a pearsized tumor on her brain stem and turn it into a delightful read is pretty amazing. I laughed and cried reading this book and was inspired! As a fellow lover of a to do list and mom of 5 who wears many hats, I really related to her discussions on life and the struggle she experienced when she was out the desired of control-mode. I plan to strive to implement her encouraged to do list this next year: 1. Spend more quality time with your children 2. Spread goodness 3. Execute numbers 1 and 2 without getting a brain tumor. I highly recommend this book especially to busy moms when may be addicted (like me) to getting things off the to do list and sometimes struggling to be fully present with the people that matter most.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I think the Gaffigans are great, so I was interested to hear Jeannie's story. Sadly, I almost didn't finish this. There's a lot of focus on the details of the medical journey itself (which honestly, from experience, I've come to realize nobody really wants to hear) and just when you think you'll get a heartfelt delve into something deeper, you get a joke instead. Also, I'm not one to shout "your privilege is showing!" but in this case, I couldn't get past it not being acknowledged. Medical emerg I think the Gaffigans are great, so I was interested to hear Jeannie's story. Sadly, I almost didn't finish this. There's a lot of focus on the details of the medical journey itself (which honestly, from experience, I've come to realize nobody really wants to hear) and just when you think you'll get a heartfelt delve into something deeper, you get a joke instead. Also, I'm not one to shout "your privilege is showing!" but in this case, I couldn't get past it not being acknowledged. Medical emergencies, for the majority of Americans, don't go down with unlimited staff, support, and inside connections.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Denise Lauron

    I loved this book! The author's journey through a brain tumor diagnosis and treatment is long and hard, but she tells her story with humor and realism. It was a quick read and entertained me the whole time. I would definitely recommend this book. I loved this book! The author's journey through a brain tumor diagnosis and treatment is long and hard, but she tells her story with humor and realism. It was a quick read and entertained me the whole time. I would definitely recommend this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    Already a super Mom, coauthor and coproducer to her funny man husband Jim, Jeannie Gaffigan was so busy she barely noticed the effects a PEAR-SIZED tumor, lodged in her brain, was having on her life. Balance off? Nah, just these silly heels I rarely wear. Can’t hear out one ear? Maybe I should get that tested. Bad headaches? Must be all these kids (5)! On and on she ran through life until her body said, “hey you, stop! I can’t run anymore.” She and JIM were off to the ER and an MRI where the pear Already a super Mom, coauthor and coproducer to her funny man husband Jim, Jeannie Gaffigan was so busy she barely noticed the effects a PEAR-SIZED tumor, lodged in her brain, was having on her life. Balance off? Nah, just these silly heels I rarely wear. Can’t hear out one ear? Maybe I should get that tested. Bad headaches? Must be all these kids (5)! On and on she ran through life until her body said, “hey you, stop! I can’t run anymore.” She and JIM were off to the ER and an MRI where the pear-sized tumor was revealed at the base of her brain. How do you deal with that? Fast forward through doctors, specialists, family and kids. Oops, how do you tell your kids?! Right. With humor, grace, faith and unbelievable spunk, Jeannie survived the surgery and the recovery with help from Jim and others. What a champ! Read this remarkable adventure and think; as I did, whoa; I never could have done this. So happy you’re ok Jeannie! Cheers to you both!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I appreciated how this gifted writer made a potentially tragic subject heartfelt, humorous, and relatable. This memoir of a busy lady of five discovering a brain tumor was delightful. We have been fans of her husband Jim for years and now understand how close they are in both their personal and professional lives. Well done.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Carmen Liffengren

    3.5 Stars I am a huge Jim Gaffigan fan and I know that he and his wife Jeannie are a comedy writing team. With heart and sincerity, Jeannie recounts her year of diagnosis to recovery. She doesn't sugarcoat the experience of discovering the pear-shaped brain tumor. Some of her memoir is hard to read and her road to recovery was long and intense. She's candid about how her Catholic faith got her through the darkest moments and how the experience gave Jim a chance to grow as well. There are dark mom 3.5 Stars I am a huge Jim Gaffigan fan and I know that he and his wife Jeannie are a comedy writing team. With heart and sincerity, Jeannie recounts her year of diagnosis to recovery. She doesn't sugarcoat the experience of discovering the pear-shaped brain tumor. Some of her memoir is hard to read and her road to recovery was long and intense. She's candid about how her Catholic faith got her through the darkest moments and how the experience gave Jim a chance to grow as well. There are dark moments here, but Jeannie chose to cling to the light even when she felt all too human and weak and scared for Jim and her five children.

  17. 4 out of 5

    BA

    It was a very relatable story for me since I have also had a brain tumor. I loved her humor through the whole ordeal and the realizations that she made- they were very reminiscent of my own recovery and the impact it has had on my life. Unfortunately, I kept waiting for her to talk about how fortunate she was to have the resources available to her that helped her get expert medical treatment- not just due to her faith or divine intervention, but because of the privileges afforded to her. I know It was a very relatable story for me since I have also had a brain tumor. I loved her humor through the whole ordeal and the realizations that she made- they were very reminiscent of my own recovery and the impact it has had on my life. Unfortunately, I kept waiting for her to talk about how fortunate she was to have the resources available to her that helped her get expert medical treatment- not just due to her faith or divine intervention, but because of the privileges afforded to her. I know it’s something I try to acknowledge when I share my story, and I was disappointed when she didn’t bring that up.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I enjoyed the first half of this book but I was ready to move past the sickness. I wanted to hear more about how it affected her and less about the “pear.” It was a well written book and maybe if I were in a different state of mind I would have enjoyed it more.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    Jeannie, wife and writing partner of comedian Jim Gaffigan, was a super mom who ran her household like a well-oiled machine. Raising 5 kids in NYC with a husband who travels for work, she had to. And then in the spring of 2017, she was diagnosed with a pear-sized brain tumor and had to learn how to be the one taken care of rather than be the caregiver. This is quite a fun memoir considering it's about a brain tumor. Jeannie talks about her seemingly unrelated symptoms (good luck not self-diagnos Jeannie, wife and writing partner of comedian Jim Gaffigan, was a super mom who ran her household like a well-oiled machine. Raising 5 kids in NYC with a husband who travels for work, she had to. And then in the spring of 2017, she was diagnosed with a pear-sized brain tumor and had to learn how to be the one taken care of rather than be the caregiver. This is quite a fun memoir considering it's about a brain tumor. Jeannie talks about her seemingly unrelated symptoms (good luck not self-diagnosing a brain tumor while reading that part), the ensuing chaos and immediacy of the situation, and then her experiences with feeling helpless after the surgery. Jeannie couldn't eat food for quite a while, her children couldn't sleep next to her, and every tingly leg was a rush to the hospital to check for blood clots. Throughout sharing the brain tumor experience, Jeannie also gives us some insight into meeting and dating Jim, raising their 5 kids, a late-term miscarriage, choosing to end The Jim Gaffigan Show, and her Catholic faith. Just as the title says, Jeannie shows us how family, faith and humor got her through the scariest experience of her life. Definitely a great reminder to appreciate what really matters but also give yourself grace when you do sweat the small stuff. Rome wasn't built in a day.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Erica T

    I love Jim Gaffigan. Like fall-off-my-couch-I’m-laughing-so-hard love him. I did not realize Jeannie had written a book until recently, and knowing she is a writer for Jim I had to read it. His Dad Is Fat and Food: A Love Story books had me laughing out loud in public to the point of being embarrassed. Contrary to the description for this book, I did not think it was humorous. Admittedly, there are a few mildly funny situations, but the subject matter was way too serious for me to laugh about. I I love Jim Gaffigan. Like fall-off-my-couch-I’m-laughing-so-hard love him. I did not realize Jeannie had written a book until recently, and knowing she is a writer for Jim I had to read it. His Dad Is Fat and Food: A Love Story books had me laughing out loud in public to the point of being embarrassed. Contrary to the description for this book, I did not think it was humorous. Admittedly, there are a few mildly funny situations, but the subject matter was way too serious for me to laugh about. I enjoyed the inside look at the Gaffigans relationship and the look at how Jeannie handled a pretty scary and difficult life event. I also enjoyed her candid account of her faith and her request of prayers and spiritual support from those in her life. So I would say read this for the memoir on surviving a brain tumor, facing it with positivity and faith, and on what it’s like to be married to Jim Gaffigan, but I really don’t think it’s a funny book so don’t expect to laugh out loud.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alaina

    My love for Jim is probably why I decided to dive into Jeannie's book. Just like her husband, she can be quite funny and lovable. So diving into her story and learning how she handled the pear-shaped tumor experience was just - wow. Utterly amazing and I loved all the support her and her family got while going through this serious situation. Jeannie is a fighter and I'm so proud of her for not giving up once. I've never had cancer but I do have family members who fought and survived.. or still f My love for Jim is probably why I decided to dive into Jeannie's book. Just like her husband, she can be quite funny and lovable. So diving into her story and learning how she handled the pear-shaped tumor experience was just - wow. Utterly amazing and I loved all the support her and her family got while going through this serious situation. Jeannie is a fighter and I'm so proud of her for not giving up once. I've never had cancer but I do have family members who fought and survived.. or still fighting today. It definitely breaks my heart when I can't be there for them physically now but I will continue to support them through any tough decision that they make. This book also dives into personal family matters which was definitely interesting to me. Sometimes you just get one persons book and point of view on things. So to get Jeannie's view on her family and Jim was really intriguing to me. Even when she went through the highs and lows because life isn't peachy and easy. It's a hot mess at times. It just made them all way more relatable and likable in my eyes.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    What a fun, uplifting book about getting a brain tumor. I'm serious! I listened to the audio version. The forward is read by her husband Jim, the pre-surgery section is read by her sister (who sounded just like her before the brain surgery) and the post-surgery section is read by Jeannie herself. I loved hearing it in her voice and delivery; it made it that much more sincere and hilarious. This memoir is heartfelt and genuine and (bless that Gaffigan humor) downright funny. It's a glimpse into t What a fun, uplifting book about getting a brain tumor. I'm serious! I listened to the audio version. The forward is read by her husband Jim, the pre-surgery section is read by her sister (who sounded just like her before the brain surgery) and the post-surgery section is read by Jeannie herself. I loved hearing it in her voice and delivery; it made it that much more sincere and hilarious. This memoir is heartfelt and genuine and (bless that Gaffigan humor) downright funny. It's a glimpse into their lives and what it was like to hit pause on life and find a new normal. I love the way they relied on faith and their religious community, how their family rallied around them and how they joked their way through one of the scariest times of their lives. The lessons she pulls from the experience are ones that we all have to learn and be frequently reminded of: our relationships are what matter most in life, don't sweat the small stuff and make time for the truly important things and people. Recommended to anyone looking for something positive to read- it will make you smile, laugh and appreciate life and your loved ones a lot more.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lake Villa District Library

    Find this book in our catalog! Find this book in our catalog!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Wise

    Jeannie Gaffigan was diagnosed with a pear-sized brain tumor removed. This book is about her diagnosis, surgery, and recovery from the tumor. She details life with her husband and five children. She was a "supermom" as I like to call them - the moms who have all their shit together, work on a rigid schedule, and seem to have the perfect life. It wasn't until she was stuck in the ICU, unable to see her children, that she realized that her "supermomness" was holding her back from enjoying her kids Jeannie Gaffigan was diagnosed with a pear-sized brain tumor removed. This book is about her diagnosis, surgery, and recovery from the tumor. She details life with her husband and five children. She was a "supermom" as I like to call them - the moms who have all their shit together, work on a rigid schedule, and seem to have the perfect life. It wasn't until she was stuck in the ICU, unable to see her children, that she realized that her "supermomness" was holding her back from enjoying her kids and her life. I really enjoyed this book. It's sweet and serious, funny and engaging. She has a casual writing style that I enjoy. You can tell from reading this book that she adores her family. She discusses candidly that things that went through her mind both before and after her surgery. She is honest about her jealousy of her husband being able to leave the ICU and go home (which I identified with because my dad went through that before he died), she talks about the contempt she had for people who could eat (she was unable to swallow after the surgery and went without solid food for four months), and she talks about how much she adores her brothers, sisters, and parents, who dropped everything to help her husband maintain the household with as little interruption to the kids as possible. If you are a fan of funny people and memoir, you will enjoy this book. I sure did. I won this book from Goodreads. I received no other compensation. The opinions herein are mine and mine alone.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Strukel

    Loved this one, as expected. Jeannie is honest and vulnerable and funny. I followed Jim as the story unfolded and have heard several interviews so I knew how it all worked out but I still found the book to be a page-turning, intriguing read. I think my favorite parts were about the strengths of their marriage and how they cultivated them in each other to get through difficult times.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Susan Bazzett-Griffith

    While I understand the criticisms made about Gaffigan's privilege and connections being portrayed as the power of prayer, I still really liked this book. Jeannie Gaffigan is a skilled writer and storyteller, and I loved her willingness to share her feelings, her fears, her diffiulties, and her hopes for the future throughout the book. She seems like a compassionate and sincere person, a mother who centers her family's well being, and a person fully aware of the meaning of gratitude. luck, and fa While I understand the criticisms made about Gaffigan's privilege and connections being portrayed as the power of prayer, I still really liked this book. Jeannie Gaffigan is a skilled writer and storyteller, and I loved her willingness to share her feelings, her fears, her diffiulties, and her hopes for the future throughout the book. She seems like a compassionate and sincere person, a mother who centers her family's well being, and a person fully aware of the meaning of gratitude. luck, and faith. I adored reading about her life with her kids and with Jim. I wept when I read about their premature daughter's death. I was so impressed by her ability to hold it together and not be paralyzed by fear throughout her illness and recovery. And as a lapsed/recovering/cultural Catholic, I related to her descriptions of her family's traditions and rituals (threats and tears while getting ready for Sunday mass is a staple in many of our memories). This book was good- well written, well paced, immensely sympathetic, moving, and with a fairly happy ending. Four stars0 an excellent read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Meghan Reidy

    Jeannie Gaffigan is a gem. This memoir was the perfect combo of humor and sadness. I often fears this genre because people often over share. It shows that Jeannie can capture the emotion of all the trauma and joy of the past two years and present in a way that still allows her family to have the sacred space they need to heal and move forward. Jeanne and Jim are saints in the making and my soul was deeply moved by her words.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    While it was interesting to read about her journey, many of us everyday people wouldn't have had the same experiences. Sadly if this had happened to me, I would have had three housekeepers and five babysitters as well as family at hand during recoup time. A bit much with the religion too, I am glad you have faith but eh. While it was interesting to read about her journey, many of us everyday people wouldn't have had the same experiences. Sadly if this had happened to me, I would have had three housekeepers and five babysitters as well as family at hand during recoup time. A bit much with the religion too, I am glad you have faith but eh.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    Well written and interesting book about a wife's life with a comedian and her surgery and recovery from a brain tumor. Jim Gaffigan is her husband and the father of their five young children. It's a quick read. As one of my daughters had a grapefruit brain tumor successfully removed, this book was probably more interesting to me than it would be to some readers. Well written and interesting book about a wife's life with a comedian and her surgery and recovery from a brain tumor. Jim Gaffigan is her husband and the father of their five young children. It's a quick read. As one of my daughters had a grapefruit brain tumor successfully removed, this book was probably more interesting to me than it would be to some readers.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katie Florida

    I'm having a hard time formulating my reaction to this very personal account of a traumatic medical journey. It was funny, sarcastic and raw. She bore the ugliest parts of herself as she recounted her recovery. That takes courage. But I found the tone she took at times unsettling, and some parts of the book seemed a little disjointed. I'm really glad she's well and restored to her family! I'm having a hard time formulating my reaction to this very personal account of a traumatic medical journey. It was funny, sarcastic and raw. She bore the ugliest parts of herself as she recounted her recovery. That takes courage. But I found the tone she took at times unsettling, and some parts of the book seemed a little disjointed. I'm really glad she's well and restored to her family!

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