Well written and meticulously researched, this was one of the most interesting books I've read in a while. The author is a chronic pain sufferer, which explains her interest. The beginning of the book is her story; how she developed the pain and how she lived with it. This part was irritating to me, because she seemed SO wishy washy about how to help herself, and how she felt like she had to hide it from the man (and eventually, other men) in her life. She also did not pursue treatment as aggressively as she should have. When I had my chronic pain, I did everything I could to try to fix myself. How Thernstrom made it through year after year, I cannot imagine.
The best part of the book is all the amazing and scary statistics and gems about pain. Men and women have different pain receptors (mu vs kappa) and so they need different drugs. Pain truly does cause loss of gray matter in the brain, which affects memory and reasoning. Women show pain differently, and therefore they are perceived differently by doctors (Listen up, MD's: we are not hysterical...we are in PAIN!!).
I got this book from the library, but will get my own copy so I can highlight and write in the margins. Anyone who is in chronic pain, deals with someone who is, or who just wants to learn some very cool facts about the history and theory of why things hurt us should get this immediately.