Sickened: The True Story of a Lost Childhood
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Sickened: The True Story of a Lost Childhood

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  9,529 ratings  ·  778 reviews
A young girl is perched on the cold chrome of yet another doctor's examining table, missing yet another day of school. Just twelve, she's tall, skinny, and weak. It's four o'clock, and she hasn't been allowed to eat anything all day. Her mother, on the other hand, seems curiously excited. She's about to suggest open-heart surgery on her child to 'get to the bottom of this....more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 30th 2004 by Arrow (first published January 1st 2003)
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Caroline Alicia
The entire time I read this book, I was screaming in my head. Giving the riot act to the doctors to the father to the social workers that turned a blind eye. I was just as bewildered and pleading as Julie as, watching the doctors slice her open when nothing was wrong.

I understood Julie. I can remember countless times, my eyes screamed volumes that no one wanted to hear or understand. And how everyone turns away, or shakes their head in disagreement but not one single adult will stand up for you...more
Deborah
Aug 10, 2008 Deborah rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy reading about other people's dysfunctional upbringings.
Though Munchausen's by Proxy is a terrible disorder that causes parents to inflict grievous pain and suffering upon their trusting and powerless children, I simply was not impressed with this book. Just another "look how ****ed up my upbringing was, but by god I'm a SURVIVOR!"

There are so many survivors of so many diverse kinds of abuse, and it seems like everyone wants to write a tell-all now. Some are excellent -- e.g. "The Glass Castle" -- and some are so deliciously horrifying I couldn't sto...more
Eva Leger
Jul 22, 2008 Eva Leger rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: childhood memoir readers
Recommended to Eva by: book swapping site
I'm not sure what to even say about this book. Most of the time I was reading it I felt just as the title says, sickened. I've read a lot of true crime and child abuse books and it never fails to resonate with me when someone can treat a child like this. This girl went through such terrible, terrible situations as a child, her mother actually succeeding in making her, along with many, many doctors and hospitals, believe she was truly sick and is still dealing with the after effects to this day....more
Rebecca
Interesting novel written by a victim of Munchausen by Proxy. I've seen Munchausen in my practice and it is an ugly disease, and very diffcult at times to detect. I'm not surprised the abuse Ms. Gregory suffered went on as long as it did, because of how sneaky and insidious the disease is. She does an admirable job writing about the abuse without becoming maudlin or playing for sympathy. She seems to be a woman in charge of her own health now, and the story rings of her strength and ability to f...more
Kim
Nov 16, 2011 Kim rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kim by: Michelle
“Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever” ~ Baron Münchausen.


Hoooooolllllllllllllllyyyyyyyyy crapsickle. Julie Gregory memoirs her childhood as a munchausen by proxy victim and it’s a hell of a gawker story. Not as jarring as The Glass Castle in my opinion but still… Christ… what the hell? People really do suck.


“You looking for the suckers, honey? Here, let me get ‘em for you.”
Mom pulls out a new book of matches and carefully bend
...more
Sara
This book was a little disappointing. More than following the issues of Munchausen by Proxy, the author reveals more about the emotional and physical abuse her mother and father. I was expecting more detail (and I guess more Munchausen issues) then was given.
Annie
This disturbing memoir is the account of a mother who intentionally invented symptoms and illness for her daughter to gain attention from medical professionals. This is known as Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome. The best pop culture example is the little girl in the Sixth Sense (Mischa Barton pre-O.C. days). I learned a lot about this syndrome from a short medical introduction; the rest of the book is Julie Gregory’s story. It is heavy, lots of adult content and language. Some of the events that hap...more
Abby Johnson
Julie Gregory grew up in an abusive household. Her mother had Munchausen by Proxy, a mental disorder that causes someone to seek attention by inflicting medical symptoms on a dependent. Throughout her childhood, Julie was told that she was sick. She was starved, beaten, and taken out of school for doctor's visits and hospital stays. Her mother insisted that every possible test be done (including invasive ones), in order to "get to the bottom of this". Julie was punished if she didn't go along wi...more
Sammy Sutton
An excellent book to read for those with a need to know and understand this complex illness. For others use your own judgement. This is a very disturbing illness that really created a lot of attention about 10 years ago in the mental health and medical field. 'Sickened' is a very well written page turner, but it is a true story...no fiction here.
Angie crosby
Wow this book was disturbing, yet I was unable to put it down. It drew me in fast and kept me riveted. It a memoir of a childhood lived with a muchausen by Proxy mom. Julie was carted to doctor after doctor, made sick with pills, all sorts of terrible things. There was also physical abuse. It was hard to read it spots. A very good book, one that I think more people should read, specially hospital/doctor staff. It really gives a deep look into what a person with muchausen by proxy is like, and wh...more
Jasmine Diaz
Its about this girl who's parents asumes shes sick and always has her missing school to take her to the doctors. The mom takes her to the doctor and tells the doctor all these simptoms she says her daughter has. The weird thing is that her daughter is not sick her mom is just making it up. Her mom takes her to a hospital where the doctor runs all these heart test because she says her daughter has a heart condition. They run several test but all of them came out negative indicating that nothing w...more
Terry
Hoo boy, this is a tough read. I actually turned to the end of the book to see if there was a reason to slog through the rest of it. I know, I know, that's cheating.

I am probably the only human being on the planet that hated Pelzer's The Lost Boy, for various reasons including what I thought of as terrible writing; and unfortunately, this book reminded me a little too much of that one, and that ruined some of the experience for me.

On the other hand, I think Gregory exposes a kind of abuse that...more
tee
Weirdly, ones first reaction is to want more from this book. She didn't suffer enough, she should have been sicker, her mother should have been worse (and I'm not alone in this, there's other people who echo my thoughts but just aren't aware that they're hungry for the gore). The thing is, Gregory's abuse was severe and it doesn't matter how mild a case of Munchausen's it was- if you put yourself in her place, in the body and mind o a fragile, dependent child - the experience must have been horr...more
Isabelle
Sickened is an account of Julie Gregory's childhood life in and out of doctors’ offices and the journey to find "what was wrong with her." Julie had to endure painful procedures like being cut into her leg in order to see if her heart was working properly after other, safer, tests came back negative for a heart condition. Julie never knew what was wrong with her, but followed her mothers lead into telling the doctors her many symptoms that were either exaggerated or not even true at all. Julie w...more
Ericca Thornhill
Munchausen syndrome is when you make yourself sick to get attention. Munchausen by proxy is when you make someone else sick to get attention. It's what happened to the little girl in the sixth sense. In this memoir, the author shares her perspective of having lived through it.

Goodreads suggested this to me, perhaps because I gave such a high rating to Carolyn Jessop's memoir about living in Warren Jeff's society. But this is the third memoir that I've read now, and I don't think that I like this...more
Lisa Vegan
Jun 08, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: for anyone who might ever be in a position to detect and protect someone from Munchausen by proxy
Munchausen by proxy (MBP) was not the worst of the abuse that this writer suffered as a girl; the other physical abuse and especially the emotional abuse stuck me the most. The brutality of the facts of this story reminded me a bit of one of my favorite books: Blackbird by Jennifer Lauck. The circumstances were different for each child, but neither book is for the faint of heart; the background of the writer is horrendous, and it always amazes me what some people are able to survive and at least...more
peg
Sickened is the autobiograpy of a woman who fell victim of her mother who suffered from the psychological disorder, Munchausen's by proxy, and her journey to as "normal" a life as possible.
Arminzerella
Julie Gregory’s mom is obsessed with her daughter’s health. She spends years convincing everyone that Julie is a very sick little girl. Even Julie starts believing that there’s something wrong with her. Her illness keeps her out of school, keeps her from graduating, keeps her from making friends, keeps her from having a normal life, and keeps her right under her mother’s thumb. Mom also makes her take medicines she doesn’t need, and has her on a variety of diets to control her illness that only...more
Sharon
I picked this book up at the library yesterday afternoon and finished it in the same day. It was a fascinating and terrifying story that I didn't want to put down.

Julie Gregory, in a bold voice, tells the story of her life as a victim of Munchausen's syndrome by proxy. Much is written about the parents who perpetrate this particular type of abuse, but little is said about the children who experience it (many of whom die).

Gregory is obviously writing from the perspective of someone who comes to r...more
Amanda L
Despite all life has waged against her, Julie Gregory has an empowered voice. Here, she details growing up with her mother's obsessed effort to contrive symptoms and illnesses for her, soliciting doctors for drastic and unnecessary tests and treatments. Gregory gives a candid and wise account of the manipulation and emotional abuse inherent in her mother's control and insightfully decodes the psychological ramifications of her victimization. While you get a thorough understanding of this manifes...more
MAP
I would say the first 1/2 of the book is actually four stars, but the second half of the book becomes disjointed, abstract, and scattered, almost as if she wrote each sentence at 2 AM after a revelation (except that the paragraphs aren't set up like that, so you're left lurching from thought to thought between sentences with no visual sense on the page of a separation of thoughts.)

The book is an interesting journey of a child growing up with MBP and abuse and not fully realizing the extent of wh...more
Talia
This book differs from your typical "Painful Lives" autobiography in the unusual form of abuse it chronicles. Munchausen by proxy is a largely unknown phenomenon, and difficult to understand for those unfamiliar to the idea; after all, how could a person deceive a whole string of doctors - as well as the child herself - that a perfectly healthy child had a mysterious disease so serious it might require open heart surgery to diagnose?
The positives of this book: you can really start to see the psy...more
Dylan Antila
Sickened is the disturbing memoir of Julie Gregory. A girl who lost her childhood because she was stuck at her mother's wimp who tried to unravel what was "wrong" with her. Ms. Gregory's story has her mother dragging her from doctor's office to doctor's office to try and uncover what she suspected was wrong with her little girl. Treatment after treatment, medication after medication, not a single doctor can pinpoint was is truly wrong with her. What was truly wrong with her was a highly abusive...more
Eileen
When I read stuff like this, I am truly horrified at how parents can be so brutal and cruel to their own children or to any other human being. Sometimes, I wonder at the irony of people requiring permits to keep specific breeds of dogs, yet people who are obviously unsuitable to be parents don't need a licence to reproduce when the responsibility is so much greater. Not that I'm saying this is something that should be regulated but it is painfully heart-breaking to read about child abuse, especi...more
Bella Sopkin
The purpose that the author had to write this book was to give awareness on Muchausen by Proxy. This is a disease where a child's mother says that the child has an illness (which is not true) to get sympathy and is a form of abuse towards a child. The author was a child of someone with this horrible disease. She wanted to inform others about this harmful disease.

The theme if the book is to raise awareness. This is to help people get help on this disease and to help the children. This is meant...more
Deana
This book was both fascinating and depressing. Although I didn't find it particularly well written, I did find myself sympathizing with Julie and being aghast at the naivete of the doctors, teachers, counselors, etc. I guess people are just brought up to believe the parents. It's like her friend told her, "we know you made the whole thing up, trying to get us to feel sorry for you. Nobody's mom dose those things and we hate you for lying."

But it wasn't just the Munchhausen's; there was also phys...more
Lynsey
I generally steer away from child abuse memoirs - they're not my idea of an entertaining read. But I read all of my holiday books & there were slim pickings on offer in the hotel lobby. Besides, I am mildly intrigued by MBP.
However, this account didn't really address MBP syndrome, more than it did reflect on a terrible emotionally and physically abusive childhood. The writing style was amateurish, disorganised & focused on to many irrelevant details. Sure it was appalling & illustra...more
Cindy Vine
Reading a book like Sickened really brings it home what sickos we have living with us on this planet. It's amazing that Julie survived her childhood but there is no way she'd not carry the psychological scars of what was done to her. It seems that her grandmother probably did the same to her mother when she was little. The scariest thing is that her mother carried on'adopting' more children so was able to continue doing the same thing and ruining the childhoods and lives of others. I agree with...more
Sammantha
Once I started reading this book I couldn't put it down. The story is very compelling in itself. his book does not flinch from reality. The book starts with the childhood of the mother. Her mother came from a world where incest was usual and it was not uncommon for the babies to be born deformed. It then launches into the life of Julie, the author of the book. Her mother is determined that Julie is fatally ill. She drags her from doctor to doctor, coaxing the child on what she should tell the do...more
Stacey
The early version of this book was excellent and held nothing back. However, due to the continued real life drama from Julie's mother, she was forced to edit out many of the gory, realistic details from latter versions of the book. The latter versions of this book still capture many of the horrors that this girl survived, however, it minimizes the full extent of her mothers illness. This has the potential to be a life changing book for anyone who reads and absorbs it. I was fortunate enough to g...more
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“I start to see that I surround myself with broken people; more broken than me. Ah, yes, let me count your cracks. Let's see, one hundred, two... yes, you'll do nicely. A cracked companion makes me look more whole, gives me something outside myself to care for. When I'm with whole, healed people I feel my own cracks, the shatters, the insanities of dislocation in myself.” 103 likes
“But the memories that hang heaviest are the easiest to recall. They hold in their creases the ability to change one's life, organically, forever. Even when you shake them out, they've left permanent wrinkles in the fabric of your soul.” 18 likes
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