This doctor has done a service to his community and to the world at large with his book about experience in the medical field. It's a combination of aThis doctor has done a service to his community and to the world at large with his book about experience in the medical field. It's a combination of anecdotes about working the night shift as an emergency doctor and descriptions of the Canadian medical system and how it could be improved for the sake of both the doctors and the patients. His writing is very readable, not condescending or judgmental, mixing stories with opinions in a very understandable way....more
Spectacular. That's the only word I can think of to describe this book. I don't know what it's like to be any older than I am, or to live in anyone elSpectacular. That's the only word I can think of to describe this book. I don't know what it's like to be any older than I am, or to live in anyone else's mind but my own - and here's Lisa Genova describing in great detail what it's like to start to forget oneself, and she does it so well that I forget myself as well.
I've been told by friends that this was passed around their families when a parent was diagnosed with Alzheimer's so they could better understand what was going on inside, and found that it helped. If that isn't the best reason to read, I don't know what is....more
After reading Still Alice, I was pumped for this one and read it the day of its release. Unfortunately, the short time between reading the two made itAfter reading Still Alice, I was pumped for this one and read it the day of its release. Unfortunately, the short time between reading the two made it a disappointment in many ways - not that it wasn't good, but that it was so very different.
Usually a novel sets a baseline for the characters' "normal" lives early on, before anything happens; sometimes the baseline is set after the event, by describing what life was like before. In Left Neglected, every day life is at least the first quarter of the book. This makes it seem like it's taking awhile to get started, but really it's very successful in establishing how drastic the change is for the main character and her entire family. They all have to adjust to a new way of thinking, of seeing, and most importantly, of measuring success....more
This is the memoir of a girl who was anorexic at a very young age, pulled from diaries of the time and subsequently stitched together into a coherentThis is the memoir of a girl who was anorexic at a very young age, pulled from diaries of the time and subsequently stitched together into a coherent narrative. If that wasn't made clear I'd be sure that this was an exaggerated, "after-school special" type novel aimed at teens to prevent them from making the same decisions (in fact I seem to remember reading one like this when I was in my teens). That the author grew up in the sixties makes it a lot more plausible, but really gives a new insight for me - a child of the eighties - into what women's societal roles were in that decade and how parents were willing to say and do one thing in public but something entirely different in their own homes when they thought no one was watching. Also the distance between what they say and what they expect of their children.
What didn't quite click for me, though, was that it seemed that this was simply a low point in the author's life and she has never relapsed or even thought about that time until coming across the diaries. It would seem to me, in all I've heard and read about anorexia and other eating disorders - and given this particular family's attitude towards body image and food - that this would be something that would affect her for the rest of her life. If not, then good for her - but I've got that doubt.
This was much darker than I had expected - rather than an "ER" feel, with a story throughout, it took chunks of real life, real thought and emotion, tThis was much darker than I had expected - rather than an "ER" feel, with a story throughout, it took chunks of real life, real thought and emotion, that happened to be set against a background of medical students and doctors. It follows three people throughout their growth and the change that inevitably happens as we go through loss and gain maturity. The book didn't seem to have a beginning, middle or end, but it was all the more compelling for this....more
Having just read "Still Alice", I was intrigued by the idea of reading about a brain disorder from the point of view of someone who studies brains forHaving just read "Still Alice", I was intrigued by the idea of reading about a brain disorder from the point of view of someone who studies brains for a living.
In the main portion of the book, she did a great job of describing exactly what she was thinking and feeling, along with what was actually going on in her brain, during the stroke itself and in the recovery process. She also made a good point of emphasizing that her recovery itself was largely due to patience and not measuring her progress against what she had been capable of before, instead focusing on what she had accomplished since the stroke. This is something that we so often overlook when we've been injured or suffered a setback, and it's certainly healthier not to hold ourselves to such a high standard, at least not immediately.
I must admit I didn't fully read the rest of the book. I found that though the narrative itself was inspirational and very interesting, the writing itself was fairly weak and in need of an editor. In the second part of the book she gets very technical and also offers a suggested course of recovery for people suffering from brain injuries. While relevant, I couldn't stay focused on it for long.
Hornbacher has certainly come to terms with her eating disorder, but is clear from the very beginning that it is a process, not an ending. This memoirHornbacher has certainly come to terms with her eating disorder, but is clear from the very beginning that it is a process, not an ending. This memoir is clearly part of the process for her, and she doesn't hold anything back. Unlike some celebrity memoirs, she's not self-pitying or looking back on a period of her life that's in the distant past; this is cold hard truth without romanticizing the illness or trying to assign causes that may or may not exist. She writes with insight, great thoughtfulness and thoroughness about the effects of the disorder on herself, her relationships and her perception of the world, with responsibility and maturity.
After I read this book I found out that she had also written a memoir, Madness, about living with bipolar disorder - a condition she mentions in this one, but only in passing. This left me feeling somewhat betrayed, as if she had kept out something very important; how could someone write a book about a psychological condition they were suffering from and keep out another, equally debilitating, psychological condition that would surely have an effect on the first in so many ways as to twine the two together almost inseparably? I haven't yet read that memoir but I have made peace with my sense of betrayal, as I've come to realize, in my own life, that this separation of comorbid conditions is essential to dealing with each one - and besides, this is her process, not mine.
Since then, in fact, I happened, quite by accident, upon another of her books - Sane - that's been incredibly helpful and I have a great new respect for this woman.
"If Sybil teaches us anything, it is that we should never accept easy answers or quick explanations. Knowledge in medicine changes constantly, and any"If Sybil teaches us anything, it is that we should never accept easy answers or quick explanations. Knowledge in medicine changes constantly, and anyone unprepared to welcome the changes and test them is not to be trusted."
This is the story behind the story. Well-researched and well told, Debbie Nathan remains unjudgmental and unbiased while revealing every aspect of the lives of the three women involved in the making of the book. Particularly important, she puts the entire thing in context - from the roots of psychoanalysis and Seventh-Day Adventism to the feminist revolution of the seventies. What could have been a simple accusatory work, finger-pointing "These people were frauds!" instead is complex, layered and understanding of the reasons and how Sybil came to be. That's not to say that what happened was right, and the author does ask several questions over the course of her storytelling, but what we have here are lessons on what can be learned rather than criticizing what has already happened.
I also loved the Acknowledgements - usually a dry listing of people who had helped, the author has personalized the cast of characters who helped in her research....more
LOVED it. If you can "love" something this odd and gruesome and cringe-inducing.
What makes this collection more gruesome and riveting than many othersLOVED it. If you can "love" something this odd and gruesome and cringe-inducing.
What makes this collection more gruesome and riveting than many others in the same vein is the connection we make with the person in the story: They're going about their daily life, just like you or I, but we know that something is coming. Unlike in popular crime shows, we don't know what that something is until after we're introduced to a character - one with hopes, fears, and idiosyncrasies.
Most non-fiction medical and crime stories I can think of tend to focus on the event, condition, or investigation, and sideline the victim into a corpse, a patient, a curiosity. This volume puts much more emphasis on what led to their illness and/or demise - the external factors, environment, thoughts and feelings of the person who made what we would scoffingly dismiss as stupid - so that they are whole people like you or someone you know. In context, the people don't always seem quite as stupid. Okay, they still seem stupid, but at least we can understand the thinking behind what made it "seem like a good idea at the time".
I found myself often wondering how fictionalized the author's accounts are, and wished for a more detailed introduction or afterword. In reviewing patient charts, did he contact friends and relatives for insights and behaviours? Did he take the personal history notes and embellish them into a whole picture? Did he use his firsthand knowledge, conversations with people directly involved in similar cases, and compose a narrative based on the thoughts and feelings they had shared with him? Or maybe all three, or something I haven't even considered?
The only thing that seems to be missing is some indication of when (general time period) and where (country) each incident took place. It's not something that's required, but given the attention to small details already provided, a general where and when would help put the life of each unfortunate person into even clearer context. ...more