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

Sickened by Julie Gregory
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's review
Jun 12, 2009

really liked it
Read in May, 2009

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 psychology behind the abusers. The anecdotes about Gregory's grandmother basically highlight blaringly the similarities between her grandmother's behaviour and her mother's behaviour - showing how these patterns can be learned and passed down, adopted as normal.
The negatives: this is a person's life; it is not a story. It's also not a life that was adapted to sound like a story. It's just the life of a person who happens to be remarkably good at writing down her thoughts and memories. Although there is a conflict, protagonist, antagonist, and a resolution, it still reads like a life, not like a story. If you don't mind that, then this isn't a problem. Gregory's writing is simply enthralling.
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