Natalie's Reviews > The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing, and the Science of Suffering

The Pain Chronicles by Melanie Thernstrom
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Feb 01, 11

Read in January, 2011

If you suffer from chronic pain, I do not recommend this book. I imagine that as a subject matter of general interest it might appeal to some. The author takes a look at pain from many cultures, points in history and its place in medicine. She also tries to weave in her own story of suffering from chronic pain. It is a very broad and far reaching endeavor. Unfortunately, as a result, she does not take enough time to truly delve into any of the topics thoroughly. The historical references are so brief that it is impossible to get a context for any of it.

While, as a person who suffers from a chronic pain condition, I was hoping for more of a personal account that I could relate to I felt that her attempt to go above her personal history and make it academic was half hearted. The frequent parenthetical remarks about her own personal experience and condition within the context of a supposed scientific or academic approach was sophomoric. If the author had made a decision to write a memoir about her experience it could have been a quality piece. If the author had decided to write an academic piece on the historical, social and scientific aspects of pain it could have been excellent also. This hodgepodge of the two mushed up together, however, was a total miss, in my opinion.
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01/03/2011 page 200
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