Bookworm: Alice Hoffman Survival Lessons

Alice Hoffman | The Silver Pen

Alice Hoffman Survival Lessons

Wow. Wow. Wow. Last night I read Alice Hoffman’s new book Survival Lessons. I may read it again tonight…and tomorrow night. Please don’t give me credit for being a speed reader. The book is all of 83 pages – with photos!  These 83 pages are packed with  wisdom, hope and inspiration. This is NOT a saccharine, Pollyanna-ish kind of feel-good book. Nope. It’s real. So very real.

Survival Lessons began as a letter that Alice Hoffman wrote to herself when she needed instructions on how to find joy during her treatment for breast cancer. Yes, yet another FBC diagnosis. But the Silver Lining is that this book became a tribute to those she has loved and lost, and to those who have survived against all odds.

The lessons are all about choosing. So many of you know that I’m ALL about choice. The Silver Lining of a bad day or stunning medical diagnosis is that we all have a choice about how we will respond. When we cannot control the what we can control the how. 

Here are her 20 lessons:

  1. Choose your heroes
  2. Choose to enjoy yourself
  3. Choose your friends
  4. Choose whose advice you take
  5. Choose your relatives
  6. Choose how you spend your time
  7. Choose to plan for the future
  8. Choose to love who you are
  9. Choose to accept sorrow
  10. Choose to dream
  11. Choose something new
  12. Choose to give in to yourself
  13. Choose to make beautiful things
  14. Choose to tell your own story
  15. Choose to forgive
  16. Choose to claim your past
  17. Choose to be yourself
  18. Choose to share
  19. Choose love
  20. Choose the evidence

Please let these sink in. Sit with them. Let them percolate. They are why I will be reading and re-reading this book over and over and over again!

Though this is a personal book, it is a book that transcends her life and applies to us ALL. After all, as Alice says, “When it comes to sorrow, no one is immune.”

I haven’t jumped up and down for a book in a long time. I am jumping. Please buy this book for you AND for a friend. It will be a true gift for you BOTH!



Leave a comment


  1. Jackie Davis Martin says

    The Silver Pen is a beautiful site.

    I appreciate the praise for Alice Hoffmann's new book.

    However, I would really like to know how to acquaint people with my own: Surviving Susan: A Mother Deals with the Death of Her Daughter and Reflects on Their Relationship.

    Those who have read it have found it real, and comforting. It's got good reviews on Amazon, where it is available. ISBN 10:1479139157

    I might be out of line here, but I would really appreciate some advice. It's not "selling" that I'm concerned about so much as sharing. There are people who find comfort in knowing others have experienced great grief and survived.

    Thank you for any help.


    Jackie Davis Martin

  2. Kim C says

    This sounds good Hollye. Thanks for the reco. Her choice to make it a short book is perfect for those who are not feeling well.

  3. Carolee Groux says

    I must read this book by Alice Hoffman. It sounds great! I want to pass it on to a friend's daughter-in-law who at age 31 with two young children, is being treated for metastasized F-bomb stage IV colon cancer. Her attitude is positive but with the chemo, shots, and meds, she does get into a "blue funk" sometimes. At those times she wishes for her "old life", and this is going to go on indefinitely as she is at an incurable stage. She absolutely needs these survival lessons.
    Thanks for the book recommendation, Hollye.

    • says

      It's pretty doggone amazing, Carolee! I hope that you enjoy it.
      I'm so so so sad to hear about that horrible f-bomb colon cancer diagnosis. Oh my goodness. I hope that the book is helpful to her. Sending all of my good thoughts to her. xx