New York Times

Brian Rea

Brian Rea

Modern Love

“In the quiet that followed, I knew I loved her. Loving her wasn’t a choice or something I needed to say yet, but it became my one untouchable thing. As my body disappeared, I still had a person to care about. Unable to sing, speak normally, walk without help, look at a screen or read a book, I existed because I loved.”


Everything Underwater

Everything Underwater is a 62,000-word memoir that takes place mostly on the pediatric oncology unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. It’s told from my perspective as a 22-year-old woman in her first same-sex relationship. It follows the development and unraveling of that relationship in tandem with the trials and indignities of chemotherapy. I spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, my 23rd birthday and Valentine’s Day all on the pediatric unit, which feels infantilizing to a 22-year-old, yet holds the grown-up realities of mortality, disease and resilience impossible to find anywhere else. 

Like Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan, this memoir is about a medical diagnosis that irrevocably changes the life course of a young woman. It also contains the depth of such memoirs as When Breath Becomes Air and The Bright Hour as the narrator contends with premature end-of-life questions and discoveries. Unlike any of these titles, it includes a Fault in Our Stars-like love story and coming-of-age theme. 

A complete MS and Book Proposal are available upon request. For more info, please contact me.


Op-Ed, Paste Magazine:

Casting my ballot in 2012 during a chemo infusion at MSKCC

Casting my ballot in 2012 during a chemo infusion at MSKCC

“A Day After Remission: The ACA Repeal Through the Eyes of a Young Adult Cancer Survivor.

“The idea that I could spend the rest of my life in a high-risk pool, isolated from the rates and choices other healthy people have because of a disease I did nothing to earn and worked hard to defeat, sounds more like punishment than justice. While watching Ryan, I have to ask: at what point does empathy supersede ego? If a conservative white male had signed the ACA into law in 2010, would there be such urgency to repeal it?”


“Literature is an existential function, the search for lightness is a reaction to the weight of living.” -Italo Calvino