Benjamin Rubenstein, “Twice,” at New Dominion Jan. 28

New Dominion Bookshop presents:

Benjamin Rubenstein will discuss his new memoir

Twice: How I Became A Cancer-Slaying Super Man Before I Turned 21

Friday, January 28 at 12:15 PM

“Generally, one of the hardest things in the world to do is something twice.”

— Lance Armstrong, Not About the Bike, 2000

Teenager Benjamin Rubenstein went through a year of harrowing treatment at the National Institutes of Health after he developed Ewing’s sarcoma. He survived, only to be struck down by cancer again at 19 while attending the University of Virginia. After another round of treatment, this time at the University of Minnesota, he survived again. To endure such fear and pain not once but twice, Benjamin Rubenstein, like Clark Kent, had to develop an alter ego. This device of the cancer-slaying Superman, drawing on the comic book hero’s Jewish roots, enabled Benjamin Rubenstein to set aside self-pity and focus on the annihilation of the round cells that were attacking his body.

Like many bright boys of his generation, Benjamin Rubenstein embraces genetics, probability, pharmacology and psychology with a sophistication that was unknown to earlier generations of cancer survivors. The spiritual solace to cancer sufferers in middle age was not available to a young man like Benjamin Rubenstein. The ironic optimism expressed in so many cancer memoirs was lost on him. All he had was an athlete’s single-mindedness and the quantitative skills he was learning as an engineering student to bring him to remission. At the dawn of his adult life, Benjamin Rubenstein was not about to be struck down by the disease of “men when they retire.” He doesn’t try to figure out why he got sick or what he did wrong. Instead, his hospital odyssey challenges this habit of thought in a text that is daring, detailed and impudent.

“Benjamin Rubenstein is a gifted story-teller and the story he tells in Twice is riveting. This is a stunning page-turner of a memoir, devoid of the mawkishness that often mars the genre. Twice is brutally honest, sometimes rib-achingly funny and all the more profound for the author’s brave exploration of himself.” — Jonathan Kellerman, New York Times 33-time bestselling author

“An inspiring and fascinating personal account of a long and often painful journey that would appeal to other patients and their families.” — Jodith Janes, Library Journal


One Response

  1. Despite early flakes I braved this never ending winter to drive to Cvlle to hear Ben’s reading. Lots of good questions and his answers certainly make you think twice about staring down death as he did. His story is riveting, and his book straightforward and gripping. New Dominion has more copies of TWICE.

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