I Want My Life Back by Andrea Coller
This essay written by 27 year old Andrea Coller won a 2008 personal essay contest in Glamour Magazine, which as a 45 year old married man is something I've never read. Coller tells her story of battling cancer (Hodgkin's) for the third time. As a cancer survivor, this essay resonated a bit with me, but even if I weren't, it's still a very arresting read.
Essay: 9 of 10
It starts with Coller trying to wake up from a coma, and not being able to, which would scare anyone. It then moves from the hospital to how she got there earlier. She was spitting up blood incessantly and knew exactly what it was. She conveys not only the terror, but mostly the disappointment that the cancer has returned. She's just really pissed off about it.
Teachability: 9 of 10
Besides a couple f-words in here, this is a great read for students. The language is accessible, the frustration is understandable, the postscript is depressing, the author is only 27, and kids enjoy reading sad stuff. Go figure.