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

Sickened by Julie Gregory
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's review
Jan 06, 2012

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bookshelves: e-pube, memoirs, mental-health
Read in January, 2012

Weirdly, ones first reaction is to want more from this book. She didn't suffer enough, she should have been sicker, her mother should have been worse (and I'm not alone in this, there's other people who echo my thoughts but just aren't aware that they're hungry for the gore). The thing is, Gregory's abuse was severe and it doesn't matter how mild a case of Munchausen's it was- if you put yourself in her place, in the body and mind o a fragile, dependent child - the experience must have been horrific. Her mother was twisted, her father turned a blind eye and she was completely alone with her trauma. Her brother, so damaged by his childhood, that he's repressed all memories of it.

Not many of us have probably experienced a perfect childhood. Even if you had fabulous parents, I'm sure there were moments that have left you a little scarred. Perhaps a heated argument between your parents? Can you remember the fear from that moment? And I bet you still carry it around with you. Imagine living with Gregory's experiences. I experienced a fair amount of damaging shit in my childhood and it's amazing how the smallest things are what I recall, my stomach churning in knots - days where dad had had enough of being as patient as a saint with mum's bullshit and finally snapped, thumping his hand on a wall making a clock fall down and smash. The terror I remember from that moment is immense! Let alone someone like Gregory whose father smacked her head into the coffee table, or whose mother ignored broken wrists for her own amusement. Or stood by nonchalantly while her daughter screamed whilst getting catheters put in. Pain and trauma isn't comparable, everyone handles and processes it differently but you can't help but feel your heart go out to Julie.

The book itself was fairly well written. Gregory's prose was a little overblown and dramatic at times, she shifted tenses frequently and the last 30 pages or so dragged on without much structure but all in all, it was an interesting account of a childhood living with a MbP mother. It must have been extremely cathartic to write and I hope that she's in a much better place these days. I also hope that her mother has been brought to justice and has had the right to have access to children stripped from her. It's so sad that this shit happens in the world.
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message 1: by Liz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Liz Tomkinson I agree with the very first sentence of your review. I think a little more insight, more feeling. Its hard to describe what i was looking for in this story but it was very flat. I do feel sad that Julie lived that life and i hope her mother received psychological help for this disorder. Thanks for your review.

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