Laura's Reviews > Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood

Sickened by Julie Gregory
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's review
Jun 27, 2011

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Read from June 26 to 27, 2011

The first half of this book earned a solid 4 stars (which in my quirky scale, is a 'Wow. Quite enjoyable'. The second half, however, floundered its way down to just 2 stars (a 'meh...didn't really care for it). I'm a sap for memoirs. I am convinced that everyone has a story to tell, and while the better part of the population's story is more interesting than my own bland story, not everyone's actually is going to make a fascinating read.

Sickened did not, in fact, fall in that category. This is the sort of story that needed to be told. Munchausen by Proxy has been a sort of fascination of mine since I first learned about it in an Intro to Psych class I took in high school. While I knew about child abuse, neglect, and parents who generally did not treat their children as little dependent people who sprung from their own bodies, I found it appalling that people would pretend their children were sick for attention and sympathy, and even worse, would actually make their children sick for the same reasons.

The first part of this memoir is actually about MBP and Julie Gregory's experience with it. It's anyone's guess what kind of problems that poor girl actually had, not because her mother imagined them, but rather because doctors believed her and prescribed all sorts of medication to be shoved down her throat.

The second half of this book was less of an interest to me (does it sound rude to judge another person's life?). Don't get me wrong, Julie had terrible experiences, but while the first part of the book was strictly regarding the MBP (as the book implied), the second part revolved more around the physical abuse, the foster children, and Julie's later-life and coping. It was sad, no doubt, just not as intriguing to me as the beginning. The writing, much like my review here, seemed disjoined and more like the perspective of an outsider rather than a survivor.

Despite my only giving this book 3 stars, I recommend that anyone read it and form their own opinions. While it sounds terrible to compare abuse stories (as it's all disgusting), I would say this book was every bit as gruesome- though in a different manner- as Dave Peltzer's books.

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