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Strong at the Broken Places: Voices of Illness, A Chorus of Hope
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Strong at the Broken Places: Voices of Illness, A Chorus of Hope

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  187 ratings  ·  47 reviews

Strong at the Broken Places is the remarkable story of five ordinary people trapped in the complex world of serious chronic illness. In this intimate portrait, acclaimed journalist Richard M. Cohen probes lives of sickness as these individuals struggle to cope.

In 2003 Cohen published Blindsided, a bestselling memoir of illness. The outpouring of support revealed to him tha
Hardcover, 332 pages
Published January 2nd 2008 by Harper (first published 2008)
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Nov 11, 2012 Reese marked it as someday-but-not-today
I began reading STRONG AT THE BROKEN PLACES on March 31, 2012, when reading anything longer than a prayer was not on my to-do list. With four killer diseases, my mom was still hanging on to life. Her date of death, April 17, was -- on the Hebrew calendar -- the day after the second anniversary of my brother's death. Although (eight years ago) I found Richard M. Cohen's BLINDSIDED quite interesting and inspiring, I've noticed that I keep walking by my copy of STRONG AT THE BROKEN PLACES -- and NO ...more
Beth Shapiro
Jun 29, 2008 Beth Shapiro is currently reading it
Wonderful exploration of what it means to live with different types of chronic illness. One chapter is about a social worker in the Shaker area.
I can't write the review as well as Goodreads did so am leaving most of it "as is":
Cohen spent three years chronicling the lives of five diverse "citizens of sickness": Denise, who suffers from ALS; Buzz, whose Christian faith helps him deal with his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; Sarah, a determined young woman with Crohn's disease; Ben, a college student with muscular dystrophy; Larry, whose bipolar disorder is hidden within. The five are different in age and gender, race and economic status, but the
I read this book not too long ago and was given a new insight into how people who live with illnesses try to cope. I didn't like how he was always giving his input in the stories. I wanted to be able to read the stories without him talking about his own opinions, experiences and how they compared the people in the book. I didn't mind that he was the one who was narrating, and I liked how he approached the people like friends. I didn't agree with everything that they said in the book though. I di ...more
Strong at The Broken Places – Adalah sebuah buku yang mengisahkan tentang 5 orang penderita penyakit kronis yang tidak dapat disembuhkan. Penulisnya sendiri, Richard M. Cohen adalah seorang jurnalis penderita Multiple Sclerosis yaitu penyakit yang menyerang system saraf pusat yang membuat terganggunya penyampaian ‘pesan’ antara otak dan bagian-bagian tubuh lainnya.

Buku ini diawali dengan berkumpulnya 5 orang penderita sakit di Harvard University untuk berbagi kisah mereka dengan mahasiswa kedokt
This is a powerful book about ordinary yet extraordinary people living with chronic illnesses. What they share is an incredible determination to live the best life that they can, not to be defined by their diseases, a commitment to hope and sharing this with others via advocacy and the alienation of the sick in a society that often (if not almost always) marginalizes them.

Now, it's not perfect - some of the sections are overly long without and the author's tendency to inject his own views into h
This book is the story of 5 people with various medical conditions, and how they deal with their illnesses. The problems are a woman with Lou Gehrig's disease, a man with terminal cancer, man with muscular dystrophy, a woman with Crohn's Disease, and a man with Bi-Polar disorder. This was a tough book for me to get through. The people who's stories are told were brave and tough, but I found the telling to be on the depressing side. There were nuggats here and there that I would like to remember, ...more
I thought this book was good in the aspect that it gives a very in depth look at the lives of people who have chronic diseases. It goes into detail how those people initially dealt with the understanding that they'd probably never lead normal healthy lives and also how they cope with the constant health issues that their diseases bring. I liked the idea of using 5 different people with 5 unrelated diseases and how in different stages of life they were dealing with everything. The only thing I re ...more
While I enjoyed the different stories and perspectives from people with different chronic illnesses, I didn't really like the book as a whole. The author was completely overbearing with his opinions and I found it hard to connect with the individual stories when the author was always interjecting with his opinions on how they cope. The author mentions he's an angry person and to me, it felt like he was projecting that anger onto the other people in this book (making them out to be angrier than t ...more
I think this book would have been much better if the author would have kept his opinions more to himself or strictly in the Reflections section. I found Richard to seem quite bitter and angry that he is sick and then try and push that on the others. Numerous times I found it annoying that he would continuously ask them if they were angry or why they weren't angry or that he would be frustrated, etc.

The stories were interesting and very truthful. Although I do not have an illness it opened my eye
The author, Richard M. Cohen, suffers from multiple schlerosis and has had two bouts of colon cancer. In this book, he highlights the lives of five people who fight personal battles with chronic and/or terminal illness: Denise (ALS - Lou Gehrig's Disease); Buzz (non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma); Sarah (Crohn's disease); Ben (muscular dystrophy); and Larry (bipolar disorder). Different in age, gender, race, and economic status, they are alike in wanting to live life on their own terms. After forming inten ...more
Richard Cohen interviewed five very different people all coping with serious illnesses. Some had faith, some did not. Some had a great deal of support - some had little support.

Despite the serious nature of their illnesses - the book is inspirational and hopeful.

It is helpful to read this book if you are now or will at some point in the future encounter a family member or friend with a serious illness. Richard's interviews with seriously ill individuals demonstrates that not all of us cope in t
MariAn Nyce
Since the author has a chronic disease, he interviewed/followed persons also with chronic illnesses. ALS (Lou Gehrigs); Cancer; Muscular Dystrophy; Mental Illness; Crohns. All stories of amazing courage.
Jill Barton
Amazing. Love how Mr. Cohen went out into society & was able to capture the real life day to day issues that individuals & their families deal with when faced with a chronic illness.
Terry Crawford Palardy
This is an excellent follow up to Richard Cohen's first book, which focused on his diagnosis of MS and then Cancer. Strong at the Broken Places follows five individuals' stories, interviewing them and their family members with sincere interest in both learning from them and in sharing with readers what was learned. Perseverance, courage, faith ... all of these shone brightly in each story, along with the sobering colors of realism.

Cohen also hosts a website where people with chronic illnesses c
The book chronicles the lives of Five citizens living with various disabilities and although each wreaks havoc on them in different ways, they share similarities in courage, self determination and public ignorance. Each story tells of the person finding hope and strength under the most difficult of circumstances and how we, as able bodied people, should strive to be more like them. Each story is inspirational and revealing; and show how each one is determined to live a good life, on their own te ...more
This book was an easy read -- it helped me to find camaraderie in the painful and difficult world of chronic illness. The 5 people who are a part of this book represent hope and coping in very different ways. What I most appreciated was how real they were.

I believe that this book would be a worthwhile read for anyone; I'm sure most people know someone with a chronic illness. Additionally, I believe this book would help anyone to find hope in their difficult circumstances and perhaps help the re
Sandra Strange
By Meredith Vieira's journalist husband, who knows his subject well as a sufferer of MS, this book examines the lives of five very different people--each of whom suffers from a chronic and destructive illness, from Crohn's to ALS, to muscular dystrophy to bipolar disorder. Each faces his/her illness with courage, one with faith. Excellent insights for any reader. Language and adult subject matter discussed frankly make the book adult or for mature teens.
Richard Cohen spent a year interviewing and getting to know five other people with chronic illnesses and their families. This book (or at least similar material) should be mandatory reading for all medical professionals to bring to the fore how chronically ill people see themselves and their situation, how they view others' perceptions of them, and how the medical community can be more empathic and supportive of them.
This book really wasn't what I expected. The overall tone wasn't inspiring to me at all, but rather pessimistic. The author seemed to be trying to convice people of strong faith to abandon that faith and get angry at God. Still, most of those he interviewed managed to inspire me and the book was very informational, which was part of what I was hoping for. I'd not sorry I read it.
Dec 30, 2010 Jj rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: any-own
This book is about five (to some extent six, if you include the author) people who are living with different chronic, debilitating diseases. This book reminds me that I am not the only person trying to live with a difficult illness, and that there are other people who may not understand exactly what I am going through, but understand what it is to struggle every day.
One of the best books I have read in a long time. The story of 5 individuals dealing with a variety of chronic illnesses, it should be a must read for anyone going into the medical profession, anyone who cares for someone with a life long disease, and anyone who wants to gain a greater understanding of what so many people go through. Loved it!
Ashley Bailey
i picked this book up after seeing it talked about on oprah. it was really good...not exactly a happy book but i learned a lot about different people and how they deal with different was sad but at the same time you see these very courageous people just trying to fit into everyday life like you and me....
I don't like Richard Cohen's writing style. It's very difficult to figure out the time-line of events in each person's story (very scattered tenses) or whether some of the statements he gives are his own thoughts or the feelings of the subject. Just frustrating. I would have rather read an autobiography from each person.
it has taken me a long while to commit to any book and finish it. however, i'm glad that i read this book. if you know anyone that suffers from either chronic or mental illness, then you should pick this up. i am constantly in search of understanding of myself and other people... this helped me.
Ok, I didn't read the whole book yet. But I read the chapter that was one of my primary interests in getting the book, and that was disappointing. It didn't resonate with me, and I didn't find it to be "A Chorus of Hope." I might get around to the rest of the book someday, but maybe not.
From these remarkable people, I have been given a gift of renewed gratitude for lives well lived in spite of chronic illness/injury. This is a work that brings honesty and joy to the discussion of the ways we cope individually & collectively with chronic conditions.
This book was a powerful testimony to the struggles of having chronic often we read about people being stigmatized by race or gender but thr chronically ill is an untouched topic. This book really was inspiring and eye opening,
This book actually changed me--reading honest accounts of real (i.e. non-inspirational)people facing difficult chronic illness made me both more aware and less afraid. It's not the best-written book, but the content is very worthwhile.
An intimate look at five people and their courage in dealing with five life-altering diseases. This is a great read for anyone in need of some sympathy-training or if you just need to remember that some people are worse off than you.
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