The very word is thrown around as a goal to achieve, an attribute to display, an inspiration on a plaque or pillow. Yet many of us find joy difficult to understand and, at times, harder to find.

Fight Back With Joy is a transparent and vulnerable story of a woman's battle to maintain joy throughout a difficult diagnosis. Margaret Feinberg shares her journey through her discovery, diagnosis, treatment, and surgery exposing all of her doubts, her fears, her joys, and her tears. She holds nothing back.

Yes, this is a book about cancer but truly no matter what difficult circumstance in which we may find ourselves, we all will find ourselves challenged to practice defiant joy.

Cancer is more than a diagnosis. It is a journey one takes along with a surgeon, an oncologist, lab technicians, family, and friends. It takes each patient on twists and turns one cannot fathom nor ever want to experience. Margaret openly discusses her decision to go through this journey with joy and laughter desiring to overcome the pain and the darkness that accompany each day.

Margaret turns to Scripture to uncover all she could about joy for this journey. She shares those Scriptures which uncover God's character and His promises to be with each of us, no matter what we may face.

Some of the discoveries Margaret learned are:

  • "More than whimsy, joy is a weapon we use to fight life's battles."

  • "When we fight back with joy, we no longer size the character of God according to our circumstances, but we size our circumstances according to the character of God and his great affection for us."

  • "The journey to joy leads us to greater dependence on Christ."

  • "It's not in the absence of difficulties but in their presence that God bestows a mighty blessing on us."

  • "In the desert of despair, springs of water unlock reservoirs of joy."

  • "Joy means holding on to hope in God regardless of the outcome."

I recommend this book to everyone and anyone.

It is a book that offers hope to us all whether in the midst of difficulties presently or coming alongside of someone in our life facing difficulties. This book is sure to encourage every reader to fight life with joy. The book includes sections which offer wonderful suggestions:

  • 5 Things to Say When You Don't Know What to Say

  • 8 Things Those Facing Crisis Can't Tell You (But Wish They Could)

  • 6 Lessons I Learned From Crisis

  • And a letter from Leif (Margaret's husband)

This book will make you laugh. It will definitely make you cry. But more than anything, it will make you want to face crisis pursuing God and practicing a defiant joy that points others to Him.

I reviewed Fight Back With Joy for the sheer joy of it. I purchased this book on my own. It has been my companion as I sat in waiting rooms, a beauty salon, and kept various other appointments. It brought me joy as I accompanied my own mom to her doctors' visits.  I encourage you to read the book, as you will be glad you did.


Joanne Viola celebrated her 35th wedding anniversary last year. She has two adult married children and is “Mimi” to two granddaughters, whom she watches full time while their parents work. She loves to read and write and began blogging so that her family would always know the thoughts she processed in her journey of life.


Joanne writes on my blog Days & Thoughts . She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter

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