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message 1: by Meghan (last edited Jan 23, 2008 08:14PM) (new)

Meghan | 423 comments Mod
Please discuss Lying Awake by Mark Salzman.

message 2: by Robbie (new)

Robbie Bashore | 141 comments Mod
PLEASE! Tell me someone has read this!

message 3: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) | 284 comments Mod
Robbie, I'll put it on my to-read list!

message 4: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly | 15 comments I just put it on my to-read list as well....

message 5: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly | 15 comments I picked up this book today based on two other recommendations....looking forward to reading it.

message 6: by Robbie (new)

Robbie Bashore | 141 comments Mod
Cool, Kimberly! This is a book that was chosen for my live book club during one of the long periods that I couldn't participate. I never got to discuss it with anyone, and I'm chomping at the bit to do so!

message 7: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly | 15 comments I was able to start reading this at the gym last night while riding the bike....I am only 40 pages or so in, but I should be able to finish it either tonight or tomorrow. So far so good!

message 8: by Robbie (new)

Robbie Bashore | 141 comments Mod
So, Kimberly--where are you in the book, and what do you think?

message 9: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly | 15 comments I am about half-way through the book. I went to the hockey game last night and have been working late this week. Tonight I plan to finish the book.

So far so good - she has just gone in for testing. very interesting story so far. it is beautifully written and I am taking my time reading to take it all in.

I love how "spiritual" she is, and in the middle of all of her pain she views it as something from God.

message 10: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly | 15 comments I am almost done! the last couple chapters left!

message 11: by Robbie (new)

Robbie Bashore | 141 comments Mod
I feel like this is a book that can best be discussed after it's read completely. So much food for thought.

message 12: by Kimberly (last edited Feb 01, 2008 07:18PM) (new)

Kimberly | 15 comments Finished! This was a beautiful story! I am ready to discuss!

message 13: by Robbie (new)

Robbie Bashore | 141 comments Mod

FYI, to put my comments in context, I am a Christion who actively participates in my church.

What did you think was happening when (main character) was having those episodes of headaches and "visions"? I think I initially thought migraines or seizures (being a bit sceptical about visions for reasons I'll elaborate on if you'd like), and I found it very interesting that the phenomenon was interpreted as being a gift. It made me wonder how many times in the history of the church people with medical illnesses were felt to have such gifts. Why, in some circles and religious groups, or in some times, would these things be interpreted as possession by demons, and in this context be viewed positively? Is it really this positive interpretation that is the gift, or an example of grace? Would the group embrace the delusions of a nun with a psychotic disorder the same way? How would one differentiate between visions and medical illness? Is there a difference?

How did you feel when you discovered she had a brain tumor? That was something I really was not expeciting! Did you want her to have the surgery or not have the surgery?

I absolutely loved the part when she discovered her new gift of mentoring others.

I'm going to need to review some of the book to make more comments. At this point, though, I'm very interested in hearing your thoughts.

message 14: by Kimberly (last edited Feb 03, 2008 07:32PM) (new)

Kimberly | 15 comments ***spoilers***

I, too, suspected migraines or seizures, but because of her creative ability to write poetry all night made me wonder what exactly was happening to her. I was not surprised by her ability to turn her pain into thinking it was a gift. Instead, it was an amazing gift to take everything that life brings, and get the positive out of it. It was these "episodes" that made her feel closer to God, and after the surgery she did not feel the same, as though a part of her went away with the tumor. In a strange way, I was sort of hoping she would not have the surgery, as it seems to keep her closer to the spirit.

When she did realize she had a gift to mentor others, it certainly brought everything full circle, and ended in a very pleasing way. Overall, this was a beautiful story that I really enjoyed.

What were your thoughts on the visit from her mother?

message 15: by Robbie (last edited Feb 04, 2008 08:09AM) (new)

Robbie Bashore | 141 comments Mod

I'll have to review the book again to comment on the mother's visit.

I wasn't so surprised that [main character] could view her own experience as a gift, either. What I was commenting on was her *community* also viewing it as a gift. As I said, in some cultures, seizures, mental illness etc. are viewed as a sign of demon possession.

As a physician, I immediately felt that she should have the tumor removed, especially since her symptoms seemed to be escalating. I'm used to people choosing not to have certain procedures, and I feel completely comfortable with that, as long as they understand the possible consequences/outcomes of any decision. (Often I end up at odds with family over this.) It was new to me, however, to have someone say that they might not want a treatment, because the symptoms make her feel closer to God. That was definitely food for thought for me. The outcome of this story was great--an example of God having a plan, I suppose. [Main character] was tempted to use her will to continue her special connection to God, then ultimately yielding to God's will, in a sense.

message 16: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly | 15 comments Thanks Robbie for suggesting this book! I really enjoyed it! It truly was a beautiful story.

message 17: by Robbie (new)

Robbie Bashore | 141 comments Mod

I re-read the scene of the mother's visit. I was amazed at Sister John's ultimate ability to empathize and forgive. It was a great example of "re-framing" the situation and seeing a different perspective. There was a part of me that felt a little sorry for the mother. Who doesn't sometimes wish they could just start over again when they feel they've made a terrible mistake?

I just saw a teenager in the office the other day who had recently had an abortion, and she was feeling fairly guilty about it. The population by my office is mostly Catholic, so I was expecting her guilt to have a religious basis, but it didn't. She chose not to carry the pregnancy to term because the father was involved in drugs and such, she had moved on to a new boyfriend, and because she is not done with high school. Still, she felt like she had lost this opportunity to have a baby that would be hers and would love her, etcetera. I explained to her that, unfortunately, with unplanned pregnancies it often feels like there are no good options, and there is room to feel guilty no matter what choice one makes. I bring this up because I think it's a similar situation to Sister John's mother's, and I'll bet my patient wishes she could have a do-over, too.

I should probably read the whole book again, to get more emotionally in tune with that plot-line. Do you think there was some kind of symbolism in the seal? Or, do you think the choice of a seal pin was random? I'm terrible with symbolism.

message 18: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly | 15 comments I thought about the seal pin quite a bit, and now I am thinking I need to re-read some parts a little closer....

I agree with you that Sister John has an amazing ability to forgive. She overall had an amazing spiritual attitude on everything; her pain, her tumor, and her childhood.

On a sidenote: That is a pretty powerful story about your patient, and you were right about the guilt - it would have found its way no matter what. Its not a decision that should be taken lightly and it does come with a lot of emotion. Poor girl....

This book was a great story. Definitely one I would read again and recommend to others! Thanks for the recommendation Robbie!

I am currently trying to finidh The Book Thief. Work has gotten in the way of my free time this week so that's my evening's fun!

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