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Saving Each Other: A Mother-Daughter Love Story

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On the surface, Victoria Jackson is the American Dream personified: from a troubled childhood and unfinished high school education she overcame immeasurable odds to create a cosmetics empire valued at more than half a billion dollars. Married to Bill Guthy—self-made principal of infomercial marketing giant Guthy-Renker—Victoria’s most treasured role was mother to three beautiful, beloved children, Evan, Ali, and Jackson.

Suddenly, Victoria’s dream life is broken as she begins to battle a mother’s greatest fear. In 2008, her daughter, Ali, began experiencing unusual symptoms of blurred vision and an ache in her eye. Her test results led to the diagnosis of a disease so rare, the chance that she had it was only 2%. Neuromyeltis Optica (NMO) is a little understood, incurable, and often fatal autoimmune disease that can cause blindness, paralysis, and life-threatening seizures, and afflicts as few as 20,000 people in the world. At the age of 14, Ali was given a terrifying prognosis of between four to six years to live.

Saving Each Other begins just as Victoria and Bill learn of Ali’s disease, starting them on a powerful journey to save Ali, their only daughter, including bringing together a team of more than fifty of the world’s leading experts in autoimmune and
NMO-related diseases to create the Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation.

Told in alternating viewpoints, Victoria and Ali narrate their very different journeys of coming to terms with the lack of control that neither mother nor daughter have over NMO, and their pioneering efforts and courage to take their fight to a global level.

Bringing their story to light with raw emotion, humor, warmth, and refreshing candor, Saving Each Other is the extraordinary journey of a mother and daughter who demonstrate how the power of love can transcend our greatest fears, while at the same time battling to find a cure for the incurable.

253 pages, Paperback

First published October 9, 2012

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 32 reviews
Profile Image for Hilary "Fox".
2,026 reviews57 followers
October 31, 2012
I won this book through the first-reads program.

Going into this book I knew nothing about NMO and nothing about Victoria Jackson or Ali Guthy. Leaving this book, I knew a great deal more about all of the above topics.

I'm rather reluctant to give books that I received for free poor ratings, and generally all books begin as three star books for me. As I read the book, it either increases in rating or decreases in rating going along. For me, unfortunately, this book was mostly a one star book. I gave it two stars because at least I learned a decent amount about the disease and how foundations are formed.

I found the book difficult to get through, over all. The story was told through two POVs, the mother and daughter, and would switch as often as just after a few paragraphs. Both people wrote in either present tense or a very passive voice, which grated on me as I read. The very casual voice didn't help matters either, and the puns (and apologies for puns) also induced more eyerolls than chortles. I would have preferred a more honest voice, as these came off as rather put-on to me.

The final straw, for me, was how congratulatory the people were. Barely a page went by when someone wasn't talking about how amazing the other people were. Even when they were complaining about one another they were still saying "I know that ___ is a truly amazing person, a superhero even..." and that gets rather old rather fast. It's all right to be mad at someone, it's all right to hate someone for a while, everyone does. Just let it out!

Also, if you didn't get a college degree or graduate high school, you only need to point it out once. You don't need to keep reminding us of it and how it's amazing that you're digesting medical jargon. Your daughter is in trouble, we get that that is an amazing incentive.
Profile Image for Margo Kelly.
Author 2 books145 followers
October 29, 2012
I breezed through the first half of this book while sitting in a waiting room full of cancer patients. My husband had some skin cancer removed that day. And frankly, I found SAVING EACH OTHER to be quite self-indulgent and elitist.

Bad things happen to good people all of the time - it's part of life. So why should one person or one family expect differently or expect a free pass to the front of the line when everyone else has to walk through the mud of life? It always amazes me when someone asks the question, "Why did this have to happen to me?" Well -- why not? Should bad things only happen to your neighbor? Your cousins? The poor? Why shouldn't you have to go through hardships? It's part of life.

How you handle those hardships is what makes you special.

And ... that's why I ended up giving this book four stars instead of one.

Because even though I got frustrated several times with the narrative of this book, in the end I was impressed with the personal growth of Ali Guthy and I was impressed with the accomplishments of Victoria Jackson. They both took action that will not only benefit themselves, but it will also benefit the medical community and patients worldwide for generations to come.

So while I disagree with Jackson's statement on page 225: "I looked around at the other moms ... and realized that probably no other mother was thinking of her daughter ... the same way I was ..." I cried on page 162 when Ali wrote: "That night definitely sucked for me. But I think being in Mom's shoes would suck even worse. Wouldn't trade with her if you paid me. And she would pay anyone if she could trade with me."

Being a mom is a tough never ending job, but if you do it well, it's the most rewarding experience in the world.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the memoir genre. I enjoyed the different points of view of mother and daughter, but I found the italic font annoying to read. I wish the publisher had chosen a different non-italicized font instead.

I'd also recommend this book to any family struggling with the diagnosis of a medical condition. However, as a lower-income family, this is a frustrating book to read because the Jackson-Guthy family can afford to move to the front of the line, have doctors on call 24-hours a day, and receive the best of the best care. Lower-income familys have to deal with waiting days/months for an appointment with a doctor who's willing to accept their minimal monthly payments for basic care. However, there are ideas and tips within the pages of this book that can help inspire and motivate you to keep fighting for the best care for yourself and your family.

I'll be donating this book to our high school library.
Profile Image for Emily.
764 reviews41 followers
December 19, 2019
An interesting look at a rare "orphan" disease, NMO, which is similar to MS. The story is told from alternating perspectives of the daughter who has NMO, Ali Guthy, and her mother, Victoria Jackson.

I'm fascinated by all things medical, so thought I'd give this a read, despite not being familiar with the writers. Since I wasn't familiar with Victoria Jackson, I must have had my head under a rock for many years. As I learned from reading this book, Jackson started her own makeup line and became a successful makeup artist to celebrities as well as selling her line on TV infomercials, which I never watch. Jackson must mention this about 100 times, which got annoying to me, as did all the celebrity name-dropping. Much of this could have been edited out, since to me, this should have been Ali's story, not Victoria's.

I also got a little bored with all the minute details of the foundation Jackson and her husband started to help find a cure for the NMO and to support its sufferers and their families. This is a very worthy accomplishment, but all the details of the meetings and day-to-day running of the foundation became tedious to me. After finishing the book I determined online that the foundation is still going strong, and Victoria Jackson is still very much involved. Although the book was not perfect for me, I do commend her and her family for all they have achieved in raising awareness and funds for NMO research.
2 reviews1 follower
January 25, 2013
I normally enjoy this type of book and it was a thoughtful gift which I started reading straight away. To say it was a disappointment is an understatement, the book is about a teenagers fight against NMO told from both the Mum and daughters perspective but I found it mostly consisted with the mother name dropping her Hollywood friends name, bragging about her over co ing the odds to become rich and famous with bits of medical info thrown in. I found it very hard to finish.
Profile Image for Shauna.
345 reviews3 followers
October 4, 2013
Ugh. I don't even know where to start. I saw this book at the library and thought the story sounded amazing, inspiring, even empowering. Then I started reading.

First off, let me say that I do not want my review of this book to define who I think these women are. There is no doubt in my mind that Victoria Jackson is a Supermom; an amazing woman that would do and DID everything she possibly could think of for the love of her daughter. That alone is amazing, and definitely inspiring. I also would never want to diminish any of the hardships that Ali has gone through, it clearly is a testament to her strength as a human, she is someone that many people can look up to and respect. I feel like she is a great representation of someone to want to be, if you are ever in a similar situation to hers.

But for the actual book review. I hated it. I couldn't get through it. If it wasn't for my own personal rule to never put a book down until its read cover to cover, I would have put it down shortly after starting. I should say that I could have read Ali's sections without fail, and I probably would have enjoyed the book a lot more. But it was a struggle to get through Victoria's sections, and this is why:

I picked up this book to read about their struggles to live through NMO. I wanted to read about how they started a foundation, how they survived the days/months/years going through this horrible ordeal. However, I was sadly mistaken if I thought that was all this would be about. Victoria took every moment available (it seemed) to promote herself, or pat herself on the back. I could have dealt just fine without page upon page of name-dropping. Why do I care who she's put makeup on, or who her celebrity best friends are. I read too many lines such as this one:

"Obviously, with the amount of self-help titles I read a year, not to mention the fact that I wrote a couple of them..."

Why do you have to mention that? I'm pretty sure your readers actually didn't need you to mention that. This is just a SMALL example of lines in this book that are self-promoting, and the name dropping is much worse. On one page, there is over 13 names/titles dropped (and its actually all on the bottom half of the page). Normally I can read a book in a few days or less. This one took me weeks to get through. I had to put it down while picking up others in between.

So overall, would I suggest this book to a friend? NO. BUT, would I tell people their story and support their cause? Definitely. I still stand by Ali being amazing and strong, and Victoria being Supermom. I just don't think this is a good book by the most remote definition.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,609 reviews22 followers
January 21, 2014
Saving Each Other, A Mother-Daughter Love Story by Victoria Jackson and Ali Guthy is better than I expected. Warned by some negative reviews, I was hesitant to state reading this book. A big fan of the TV show, Mystery Diagnosis, I am interested in all rare diseases. NMO or Neuromyelitis Optica is an autoimmune disease that attacks the optic nerve and later the spinal nerves. It can result in blindness, paralysis or even death.

This is the story of Ali Guthy’s struggle with NMO and her mother’s reaction to it. Both of her parents are in sale related occupations. Ali’s mother is a high school dropout who started a very successful business. The negative of this book is that Victoria Jackson is unable to tell her story without telling about the story of her business. So part of the book becomes a sort of commercial for herself and a celebration of her company. Oddly enough, I have read another story about a father and his son’s rare condition where the father had trouble sorting out what should be in the book so I was prepared for it.

Ali’s story came through as genuine and warm. She is a beautiful, athletic, innocent fourteen year old. She did not want to know any details about the disease for a long time. She shielded herself from the truth and let her parents carry the burden. She tells of having terrible nausea, vomiting and blurred vision at the beginning. She was horrified to be accused of being anorexic. She journals the rest of her experiences, even tennis matches including her visit to Mayo Clinic and the many doctors and treatments. At times, she seems more mature than her mother.

Victoria Jackson, Ali’s mother started researching the disease and learning the medical lingo, at first it was to help Ali but later her mission expand to help everyone who has NMO. She was told that her daughter would only have four to six years to live. Victoria used her skills to fund raise and set up an organization for NMO. Both the mother and daughter have a deep love and respect for each other. The struggle may have even deepened their bond.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has NMO or has friends or family with it.

Profile Image for Wendy Hines.
1,322 reviews259 followers
October 19, 2012

Saving Each Other is the story of Victoria Jackson, her husband Bill, their boys and their daughter, Ali. When Ali starts to have eye pain, Victoria takes her to the doctor, just like any parent would. But what she is diagnosed with is life-altering - for all of them. Ali is diagnosed with NMO - "Neuromyeltis Optica (NMO) is a little understood, incurable, and often fatal autoimmune disease that can cause blindness, paralysis, and life-threatening seizures, and afflicts as few as 20,000 people in the world."

But not one to let the devastating news get them down, Victoria decides to fight. Victoria learns everything she can about the disease and tries to move heaven and earth to save her child. Ali knows how much her parents love her, and she works valiantly to be optimist with her prognosis. Victoria uses her keen business sense and sets up a foundation so that others out there will learn about this disease and not be blindsided like she was.

Not only do they have people researching the cure for NMO, but also other auto-immune diseases that have helped many. A strong faith, a powerful family bond of love, strength and determination set the tone for this page turning novel. It's inspiring, but make sure you have some tissues handy. One of the best quotes in the book that has resonated with me is by Lena Horne - "It's not the load that breaks you down, it's how you carry it." Pretty much like "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger", but I like how this one really captures the moment of this inspiring book.

At the end of the book, there is acknowledgments by Victoria and Ali, as well as things that Victoria feels that we need to know if your struggling through NMO, as well as more information about the foundation she has set up. Heart-warming, emotional and inspiring, Saving Each Other is a book every parent should read, but it's also a wondrous journey of a mother and daughter facing their greatest fears and the love they share.
Profile Image for LaQuita.
103 reviews3 followers
October 30, 2012
This story had me in tears. Saving Each Other is about a mother and daughter facing an illness that the daughter, Ali is very touching and I felt for this family every step of the way. This was a book that I couldn't put down, a page turner for sure. I can't imagine going through what they've overcome, but am so glad they shared their story with the world. This book is definitely worth reading and will be another one on my list that I'll be telling my friends and family about. I know a couple of women who have had to deal with illness with their child in some way and I know that if they were given the chance to read this book they can see that they're not alone, that there are others out there going through something similar. The story alone makes this a great read, but what I also loved about this book is that you got two sides to the story, not only were we reading what Ali was going through, but we also got a chance to read what Victoria went through and this is what makes this book stands out. I was also impressed to find out that 100% of the proceeds of this book is donated to the foundation Victoria started called, Guthy Jackson Charitable Foundation.

Profile Image for Francine LaSala.
Author 9 books63 followers
October 11, 2012
I love stories about people overcoming the odds, and when they're true stories, all the better! This is a pretty amazing book because it's told from two points of view: the mother, Victoria Jackson--not the former SNL nut job--who came from nothing to create a cosmetics empire; and the daughter, Ali Guthy, who has more wisdom in her at barely 20 than most people have at 40. The story is about Ali's diagnosis with a rare auto-immune disease called NMO, and the efforts these two remarkable women have made to not only get the disease "on the map" but also how the research conducted has benefited scores of people suffering various other auto-immune diseases. A true testament in every way of how you can change the world if you put your mind to it.
Profile Image for Pam.
40 reviews
August 24, 2018
A memoir of mother/daughter discovering the diagnosis of a rare disease (orphan disease: NMO), developing a foundation for research toward a cure and their first few years of navigation through treatment and beyond. A hopeful story of getting through a crappy curve ball. A little "elitist" based on the author and her husband's fame and fortune. But, overall, a hopeful story.
Profile Image for Sheri.
29 reviews
April 28, 2021
I have never heard two more self-absorbed, self-cantered people try to gain symptoms for their story. Their writer’s voice is terrible, only slightly bragging about their rich lifestyle every other sentence, and their actual voices are grating. Mom is gratingly “angry” the whole book and thee daughter sounds like a 6 year old. Perhaps other narrators would have helped with the presentation.
I think this is the worst review I’ve ever written.
Profile Image for Nicki Lee.
5 reviews1 follower
January 12, 2019
I love how the stories of mother and daughter perspectives are woven together. I had a personal investment in reading this as I was recently diagnosed with the same illness that they faced. This book delivered renewed hope in my own situation.
Profile Image for Jan Stone.
8 reviews
January 18, 2013
Saving Each Other: A Mother-Daughter Love Story, by Victoria Jackson and Ali Guthy

Saving Each Other, A Mystery Illness ~ A Search for a Cure, A Mother Daughter Love Story, by Victoria Jackson and her daughter Ali Guthy, sports a title succinctly summing up the 288-page book’s storyline. The journey of a child stricken with a deadly disease and a mom who fights best when the odds are the worst is told with alternating mother/daughter commentary as together they fight Ali’s rare diagnosis of the autoimmune disease NMO, or Neuromyelitis Optica. Contrasts are reflected in every part of the story. Ali and mom face the life and-death diagnosis with two opposing perspectives: Victoria immerses herself in every detail; Ali doesn’t even want to know the name of the disease and certainly not the the prognosis as it first affects her vision at age 14.
Victoria Jackson fought her way from a violent childhood to all the joy and promise her life as a half-billion dollar makeup maven allows, especially after marrying Bill Guthy of Guthy-Renker infomercial fame. He’s no less an interesting and positive player in this story, despite the diametrically opposed manner he embraces to handle life’s challenges.
Early in the story Bill Guthy has a rendezvous with cancer, saying little about it and demonstrating how he lives solely within the borders of optimism that frame any tough situation―a trait learned from his family, who would break out in songs from the Sound of Music during get-togethers. Like father-like daughter, Bill and Ali watch in awe as the Superwoman that is their wife and mother not only faces down the deadly autoimmune disease that strikes the talented tennis-playing Ali, but also starts thinking about a foundation to bring research and better understanding to those struck with the rare and often fatal disease.
Victoria Jackson’s approach to success is in researching every detail and every possible outcome to defeat any challenge that lies before her. She speaks frequently of life in the 2% factor, her concept that when the odds of something happening―good or bad―are incredibly low, they are likely to occur to her or those near her.
Pulling herself out of an abusive past to create her Victoria Jackson makeup enterprise is a 2% factor example. Her husband’s episode with cancer, another example. Next, when the structure is built for the Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation, Victoria meets the renowned Clinical Faculty, Endocrinology and Internal Medicine physician Dr. Katja Van Herle from UCLA, who had recently launched the Greater Good Foundation. The Greater Good is an education and outreach program for underfunded public health and outreach programs, and Dr. Van Herle welcomes the chance for the Greater Good to partner with the GJCF to conduct NMO research. Definitely filed under 2%.
Accessing the best doctors in the world, getting some to help create the Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation, mining the range of all other possibility from psychics to the promise of all religions: these are financial and intellectual opportunities not afforded many people faced with such medical horror. As a result, unless dealing with a potentially fatal disease and those kinds of resources, there are times when it is difficult to feel the real pathos of this unquestionably frightening journey. One presumes there had to have been some darker moments during the years; perhaps including one or two may have made the book a little more accessible to Everyman.
However, during the moments that are covered, there are universal lessons worth embracing. Watching Ali mature from denial to advocacy is genuine and heartfelt. Becoming the editor of a newsletter to help others better understand the daily challenges of the disease seals her growth into an empathic, involved young woman. Observing a mother and daughter with the support of a caring dad working together under the most difficult of situations and emerging stronger and more united, when often it’s those very tough situations that tear family apart, is also especially gratifying. The “Resources” chapter that wraps up the book is very useful as well.
If you know going in that this is the journey of an unusual disease faced down by an exceptional family of great means, the story does not disappoint. It’s not often hero-worshipping and the super powers of others play such a big part in real life, but it’s a reminder that worst-case scenarios don’t always result in worst-possible endings. Perhaps creating more foundations and a better healthcare system can bring better results to more people suffering from the many misunderstood and under-researched medical issues afflicting those of limited resource. If nothing else, this book most certainly carries hope from the first to the last page.

Victoria Jackson (Author), Ali Guthy (Author)
288 pages
Publisher: Vanguard Press (October 16, 2012)
Language: English

Review by Jan Stone, 781 words
Profile Image for Stacie.
1,454 reviews94 followers
January 18, 2013
As a mom, I wasn't sure I wanted to read this book. Then again, as a mom, I needed to read this book. A mother's greatest fear is something happening to their children. You pray for a healthy baby and when you are blessed with one, you think all your worries are over until, your baby becomes a toddler, then goes off to school and then college, etc. As a mother you are always going to worry about your children, forever. At each stage, you think you have made it and then BAM! there you are in another stage with a whole new set of worries.

Victoria Jackson was the Mother of all Worriers. According to her daughter Ali, "she had the worry bases covered. Not just the bases - she had the bleachers, the dugout, and the entire field covered." Victoria Jackson has worked hard her whole life for everything she has. She started at the bottom and has since become a powerhouse in the cosmetic and infomercial industry. But, beyond all those successes, the only ones she truly cared about were her three children. That much I can tell from this book. As a mother, I identified with her drive, her worry, her fear, and her determination to "fix" this disease.

This book chronicles Victoria's fight against the disease and Ali's struggles with maintaining her life as a high school student and athlete as well as fighting a disease she doesn't even know she has until she agrees to hear the name. You follow them along to doctor appointments, tennis matches, weekend getaways, as well as their inner most thoughts. This story shares the good and the bad with the reader and shows how to you can make it through the worst of it.

Because of the Jackson-Guthy fortune, they were able to really make leaps and bounds when it comes to research and finding the best doctors for Ali. Nowhere in the book was insurance mentioned. Nowhere in the book did Victoria mention having to struggle with their insurance company with whether or not a procedure or drug would be covered. If they wanted to receive care from a doctor, they went to see him/her. If they wanted a nurse to come to their home to give treatment at all hours of the day, she did. To me, this isn't the norm. Because of their financial status, Ali's treatment was different from what most patients receive in this country. I wish that wasn't the case and frankly, so does Victoria Jackson. Something must be done with our health care system. But, for Victoria, at first this was about saving her daughter. Then it became saving the many other families suffering with NMO.

Ali is an amazing young woman. She is wise beyond her years and even though much of her life has been privileged, she has had more struggles that any of us would bear to handle. Throughout all of this, her positive attitude was inspiring. Even though she struggled with excruciating pain, she always found the silver lining, like when looking at their "Connect the Docs" map and pointing out that at least having NMO has helped her knowledge of world geography. Ali is a bright light in her family, I am sure.

Even though this book is sad and a bit self-indulgent at times, I think you will find it inspiring and heart felt. All proceeds from this book directly support scientific and clinical research for NMO.
Profile Image for Cindy Hudson.
Author 15 books23 followers
January 31, 2013
Victoria Jackson faced every mother's worst nightmare when she was told that her vibrant, seemingly healthy 14-year-old daughter has a rare autoimmune disease and that she may only have four to six years to live. Instead of accepting that diagnosis as inevitable, Jackson set about to change the prognosis by forming a foundation that would bring together experts from around the globe to work on a cure. She and her daughter tell the story of that quest in the book, Saving Each Other: A Mystery Illness, A Search for a Cure, A Mother Daughter Love Story by Victoria Jackson and Ali Guthy.

Jackson is exactly the kind of person you would want in your corner if you were ever facing incredible odds. Growing up disadvantaged, she rebelled as a teenager and never finished high school. Yet through her savvy and tenacity, she turned her ability to work wonders with cosmetics into a career first and then into an empire. Jackson's curiosity, her ability to focus on doing what she needs to do to achieve her goals and her tireless pursuit of those goals served her well in life. They are also the traits that let her push even harder when she is working for her daughter's health. Yet Jackson is also candid about the demons she faced along the way, including crippling anxiety that kept her from flying for many years.

As the daughter with the illness, Ali Guthy matures through the telling of the story as she progresses from a 14-year-old girl who doesn't want to know what she has or what it means to her life, to a young woman who is willing to face the challenges of a disease that is often painful and always frightening. After years of letting her mother lead the charge, Guthy bravely steps into the fray and works alongside her.

The Jackson-Guthy family, fortunately, has resources that many of us do not, which means they could set up a foundation and fund research that will ultimately help many other people as well. The proceeds from the book directly support scientific and clinical research for Nueromyelitis Optica, or NMO, which is the disease that Guthy lives with.

Saving Each Other is a story of love and of hope. It shows that while disease and other frightening disasters can confront any of us at any time, we can choose to respond with courage and spirit even when the odds are stacked against us.

The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
182 reviews10 followers
October 2, 2012
The 411 by Maria:

In starting this book I was familiar with the name Victoria Jackson the make up artist. I wanted a No Make Up Make Up Kit in the worst way. What I didn't know was anything about NMO Neuromyeltis Optica Spectrum Disease.

When Ali, Victoria's 14 year old daughter ended up with an eye pain that didn't go away, she took her to an eye doctor like any good parent would do. There was inflammation all along the nerve. After many tests and many doctors they received a diagnosis of NMO (please see the foundation for exact information on this very rare disease).

What I loved and got out of this book is that love conquers all. Victoria, the mother, wanted to do everything and did, she moved mountains to understand and research this disease that was so rare there wasn't much information about it. Victoria the business woman, organized a foundation so that no other family would be unaware of the resources for NMO.

Ali, trusts and realizes how much her parents love her and would do whatever they could to help her. Her trust was so much so that in the beginning she didn't even want to know what she had.

The book is well written and in each of their voices.

My heart broke so many times for the whole family as they dealt with the unknown but especially for Victoria who wrote that she would do anything to have had the disease hit her instead of her daughter as I imagine most moms would do.

The Jackson-Guthy family are very lucky to have each other and are proof that if a family sticks together they can fight anything.
Profile Image for Julie.
868 reviews77 followers
February 3, 2013
Victoria Jackson is a self made millionaire, who had a troubled upbringing. With a difficult childhood, she finished high school early, married young and was raped by a house intruder. Training as a make up artist, she then started making her own formulas in her garage, which turned into her having huge success selling online. Yet she suffers from self doubt that often holds her back, being afraid to fly and scared that the worst will always happen to her and her family.

So while driving her fourteen year old daughter Ali, Ali suffers from what she calls an eye headache. After various scans and consultations with doctors an auto immune disorder called Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) is diagnosed. The story of their journey is shared between both Victoria and Ali, which gives this memoir some balance.

I totally admire their dedication to educating medics about NMO and providing support to other sufferers, and basically putting their money where their mouth is. The progress that Ali has made in the years since diagnosis is amazing, especially since many clinicians gave them a pretty poor prognosis, and I am sure that their story will give hope to many people.

Profile Image for Julie Barrett.
8,176 reviews144 followers
November 2, 2013
Saving Each Other by Victoria Jackson and Ali Guthy
This book is about a girl in her teens that develops a mystery illness.
Interesting how the book works. Parts of it are told by the daughter and some from the mother's side, as they are going through each day. You get a really good idea of what's going on.
I also have a rare eye illness and have been to the best and I have just learned to live with what I have left.
Lot of doctor terminology and it's up to them as to what treatments they do try. They do end up traveling to a lot of different big cities to follow the doctors around that know of the disease and how to treat it.
Everybody is different and they pray on the 2% that will survive.
At times it's difficult for me to read as I recall many of the same experiences of my illness.
Love how they use their resources to come up with help for them and others with the same disease. My friends and I started a local support group for lyme disease and we did attempt to get grants to help educate everybody so I know how hard the task is.
Praying helps get them through it all and some swearing...
6 reviews1 follower
December 13, 2012
I enjoyed this book because I got an idea of what it would be like to be diagnosed with a serious illness at a young age. The story was relatable to both mothers and teenage girls because it was told from the perspective of each in alternating chapters. I also learned a lot about NMO, which I had never heard of before reading this book. The story included medical details and descriptions but not enough to bore the reader. I was interested the whole time, wondering if at the end they would find a cure.
I think mothers and daughters would be interested in this book because it tells the story of a mothers love for her daughter. It would also appeal to people struggling with their own illness or the illness of a family member. They would find it to be an inspiring story that could encourage them to persevere. This book might also be of interest to people who like medical dramas or books about real-life situations. I learned a lot about NMO through this book; it would be of great assistance to anyone researching the topic or wanting to start a foundation for medical research.
Profile Image for Angie.
283 reviews4 followers
May 24, 2016
I always feel bad rating a biography, especially when the subjects have worked through something so difficult. (And it sounds like they've done a lot of good.)

Here's the thing- I just couldn't connect with this book. Honestly, I was a little turned off by the name dropping and everything. It felt a little like they were trying to sell themselves the entire time. Enough already.

On a positive note, I went into this book knowing nothing about NMO and learned so much. Always a good thing.

Would I recommend this to a friend? Mmmm...probably not. BUT if you are going to read it, just be aware that there is some swearing. (I listened to an audio version that removed most of the swearing, but it sounded like the F-word wasn't terribly uncommon.) She also talks briefly about being raped as a child. That wasn't a deal-breaker for me, but it might be for some.
173 reviews16 followers
November 26, 2012
This incredible story is told from the points of view of both Ali Guthy and her mother Victoria Jackson, which is likely the best approach, allowing the reader to become acquainted with the fighter that is Ali and her biggest champion, her mother. The insights into their fears, cares, struggles, and progress is revealed over a timeline of three years. Saving Each Other not only is an eye opener, but a work of hope for all out there who may be fighting their own battles as patients or loved ones. Whether it's NMO or any other disorder or disease, reading Saving Each Other just may be the vision of hope to enable you to climb another mountain, cross another sea, in your own challenges in life.
Profile Image for A Serious Lover.
87 reviews10 followers
November 6, 2012
Saving Each Other was a touching story of a family pulling out all the stops to save a child with a terminal orphan illness. And this is a privileged family. Along the way they established a foundation for research into a cure and they have had some remarkable results.

There has been considerable bitterness expressed by some reviewers about 'privilege' and the benefits it bestowed in the treatment of this child. There's been little gratitude expressed for the advances in treatment for all sufferers of this affliction.

A thoroughly good read and a glimpse into how the very successful live and bleed.
Profile Image for Terri.
46 reviews2 followers
January 14, 2013
I found this mother-daughter memoir riveting. When Ali Guthy is diagnosed at age 14 with NMO, an illness that was considered fatal at the time, their family is devastated (of course.) Ali's mom, Victoria Jackson of infomercial fame, goes into warrior-mom mode and they not only find ways to cope with this illness as a family, but create a foundation to seek the cure. This is a story of a family struggling with a heartwrenching diagnosis in ways that are totally human and typical coupled with extraordinary determination and resources. They experience heartbreak and frustration and growth... and they change the world.
Profile Image for Kate.
484 reviews5 followers
January 11, 2015
I unfortunately found it hard to sympathize with these people. They seem to be kind of elitist, by which I mean they seem to think they are the only people to go through medical and other struggles, and are therefore special and entitled to move to the front of the line.

The mom in particular seems very keen to share all about her celebrity friends and how she's kind of a big deal now. The daughter's sections are more sympathetic, but overall I can't recommend this book.

I received this books a part of Goodreads First Reads program.
Profile Image for Kimberly.
10 reviews
October 8, 2012
A beautiful and poignant story about a mother's fight to save her teenage daughter from a deadly orphan disease called neuromyelitis optica (NMO). Told from both Victoria Jackson and her daughter Ali Guthy's alternating perspectives it shows the strength and resiliency of both of these extraordinary women.
Profile Image for Florence.
81 reviews11 followers
October 26, 2012
"Saving Each Other" was a wonderful book. It is a story of a mother and daughter bond that is positive and uplifting. Despite medical problems and struggles, Ali and Victoria are a powerful pair. It is inspiring to read about a positive mother and daughter connection. This is a highly recommended read.
1,156 reviews10 followers
June 26, 2015
I semi-enjoyed this mother/daughter memoir about Ali's newly-diagnosed and very rare disease called NMO. It is often fatal, and Ali is only 14. Victoria and her husband join together to start a huge foundation for Ali. It was interesting and sad, but I got really tired of Victoria talking about all her money :/
Profile Image for Wendy-Lynn.
294 reviews
November 6, 2012
Very inspirational story of a mother and daughter's bond through adversity. I remember Victoria Jackson's makeup line from the 1980's. It was nice to read her story.
1,490 reviews3 followers
December 3, 2012
compelling read about an illness I was unaware of.
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