Collier, Andrea King 1956-
COLLIER, Andrea King 1956-
Born 1956, in Gary, IN; daughter of Earline Comer Terry (a telephone company manager); married Darnay Collier, c. 1983; children: Nicole, Christopher. Education: Indiana University, B.A. (journalism); attended Lansing Community College, Lansing, MI.
Freelance writer, speaker, and national health-care advocacy consultant. Founder of Writer Chicks Web site.
American Society of Journalists and Authors, National Association of Black Journalists, American Medical Writers Association.
Still with Me: A Daughter's Journey of Love and Loss, Simon and Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to periodicals, including More, Washington Post, Better Homes and Gardens, Black Issues in Books Reviews, Chicago Tribune, Working Woman, Essence, Lansing State Journal, More, New York Times Book Review, Oxford American, and Writer's Digest.
When Andrea King Collier was in college, she was discouraged from becoming a journalist and instead began working in marketing. But the desire to write did not go away, and at age forty she began writing again. Her interest in women's health issues and women writers led to a new career as a freelance writer. After Collier faced a health crisis in her own family—the discovery that her mother had advanced ovarian cancer—she decided that she needed to relate the hardships of dealing with a deadly disease by writing a book. Her memoir, Still with Me: A Daughter's Journey of Love and Loss, is about her relationship with her mother, Earline, and the last year they spent together.
While Collier intended to write about genetic illnesses using a medical journalism fellowship but was turned down, the need to write about her experience still nagged her. Her mother also pushed her to do it because it would help others. Among the issues that the author wanted to address was the silence African Americans maintain about cancer. When Collier moved her mother to Michigan so that she could oversee her medical care, Earline insisted that her illness be kept secret from family and friends. This denial was the reason that the cancer was not diagnosed until it was in an advanced stage. Collier writes about the family tensions that remain even in the face of terminal illness, and she recounts the difficulties encountered while helping her mother die with dignity.
Collier's openness and skill as a writer impressed several reviewers. A Kirkus Reviews critic called Still with Me "unflinchingly honest and always perfectly pitched." The author's "striking candor is sure to empower readers," according to Pamela Berry in the Clarion-Ledger Online, the critic remarking that she "was literally brought to tears" by the book. Writing for Library Journal, Nicole A. Cooke identified Still with Me as "one of the few nontechnical books about ovarian cancer" available, and found in its blend of pain and humor the makings of a "wonderfully written" book.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Collier, Andrea King, Still with Me: A Daughter's Journey of Love and Loss, Simon and Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.
Booklist, May 1, 2003, Vanessa Bush, review of Still with Me: A Daughter's Journey of Love and Loss, p. 1558.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2003, review of Still with Me, p. 357.
Lansing State Journal, April 10, 2003, Kathleen Lavey, "A Mother's Legacy: Cancer Struggle Inspires Daughter's Book."
Library Journal, January, 2003, Nicole A. Cooke, review of Still with Me, p. 142.
Post-Tribune (Gary, IN), May 8, 2003, Amy Lavalley, "A Journey Shared," p. D1.
Publishers Weekly, February 10, 2003, review of Still with Me, p. 169.
Andrea King Collier Home Page,http://www.andreacollier.com (November 11, 2003).
Clarion-Ledger Online (Jackson, MS), http://clarionledger.com/ (November 9, 2003), Pamela Berry, "Mother's Final Days a Lesson in Living."