Book review: ‘Everybody’s Got Something’ by Robin Roberts

Everybody's Got SomethingTelevision newscaster Robin Roberts has had her share of struggles. Treated for breast cancer in 2007, the “Good Morning America” co-anchor expected to make a full recovery and put her fight behind her . . . until five years later, when she learned she would need a life-saving bone marrow transplant for myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a rare blood disorder — a side effect from her initial cancer treatment.

Who could blame someone for balking, for shrinking, for retreating inward . . . for asking a distraught “Why me?” To hear Robin tell it, though she faced uncertainty and doubt and did occasionally rail against her situation, she tried to focus on healing.

And Robin is a fighter.

More inspirational than informational, Roberts’ Everybody’s Got Something is her recollection of where she was before, during and after her 2012 transplant — and reads as a “thank you” to the friends, family, coworkers and viewers who bolstered her during a tremendously difficult time.

As she prepares for her transplant and its required isolation, Robin must also come to grips with another pain: the grief of losing her beloved mother, Lucimarian. The love shared between her close-knit family — including Sally-Ann, her bone marrow donor — is the backbone of Robin’s story, and many chapters feature snippets of childhood and the many lessons her mother and father shared with their children.

Though Everybody’s Got Something lacked some of the candor I’d expect given Robin’s difficult situation, I respect her so much as a person and appreciate that she wanted to focus on the positives: the bond her illness further cemented with her family and girlfriend, Amber; the overwhelming, soul-restoring support she received from colleagues, friends and viewers; the strong faith that got her through the darkest of her days.

Robin’s struggles seem to have been buffed clean, smoothed of their most jagged edges — but this is her story. If it’s varnished, I understand . . . and appreciate that, more than anything, Everybody’s Got Something — a popular saying with her mother — is exactly what it purports to be: a reminder that we all face challenges, but need not be defined by them. Readers facing health crises may find it especially comforting.

If you like Robin? Well, you’ll like her book. She’s sincere and humble — and just a darn likeable person. I finished the memoir grateful for her returning strength and hopeful that the future will be a bright one.

3 out of 5

Pub: April 22, 2014 • GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor on Twitter
Audio copy borrowed from local library

You say ‘quirky’ and ‘complex’ like it’s a bad thing

Like many a teenage girl going through the awkward throes of adolescence, there was something unbelievably reassuring about paging through a copy of Teen Beat, Seventeen or Cosmo Girl and finding… my horoscope.

Reading the adventures other cancers and I were bound to have over the next month reminded me that I wasn’t alone in this big ol’ universe — that there is, somehow, a “plan.” Maybe. I know that many people would turn to religion for that purpose, but that’s not completely my style. Horoscopes were accessible and, in an unsteady world, gave me something to use as a guide for navigating the treacherous waters of being a teenage girl.

And they helped me try and figure out whether my crush and I were going to “gel” that month.

Every morning before school, my dad and I would sit at the kitchen table and have breakfast. The daily newspaper would be spread out to the comics and, yes, the horoscopes, and my dad would begin the same way before I ran out the door: “Today, Cancer . . . ”

Inevitably, my daily horoscope would include something like, “Your energy levels are low today, so beware of crabby moods!” (get it? Crabby?) or “Communication is difficult today, Cancer, so be clear with what you want.”

Whether it’s just through the power of suggestion or what, I definitely think I’m a cancer to a T. Especially when we get into the moodiness and attempts to self-preserve.


Cancer natives are self-protective and sensitive, and often retreat into themselves when hurt. Crabs are able to resist changes in the environment, thereby protecting themselves from hostile elements in various habitats. Similarly, Cancer natives are thought to avoid too much change, and to be on the defensive. Crabs have “complex  behavior patterns.” The inner world of Cancer natives is thought to be rather quirky and complex. Some crabs “conceal themselves by decorating their bodies with plants and animals.” Cancer natives tend to try to blend in with their environments, preferring not to make a big splash in life.

Just to preserve my pride, I’m going to pretend that “quirky” and “complex” are good things. (Maybe they are.)

And, when I have some time, I still check out what the stars apparently have in store for me. And sometimes? Like today? I nod a little appreciatively at the fact that the universe just knows exactly what I’m going through.

Me? Overextended? HAHAHAHahaha . . . ha. Ahem.

Going to try and wrestle those deadlines to the ground now . . . while waiting for my “unexpected opportunities” to appear. Let’s hope they’re in the form of cold, hard cash.