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I have chronic pain and have been on the lookout for a memoir that deals with the subject. Until this popped up, I really hadn't seen anything. Unfortunately, there's little to recommend this book.
1. Duffy is not a very good writer. It was all telling and no showing; As a result, her assertion (and the quotes of others--she's very fond of little quotes) that words fail/are inadequate when it comes to trying to get another to understand pain were even truer. At least if you write a scene the showing might get the point across. But this was just kind of rambling essay--though good essays do have parts that show rather than just tell.
2. Wow. That editor should be fired. Clearly Duffy wrote these as separate pieces/vignettes. There is SO much repetition. How many times did she say she used to work in an old folks home as if it were the first time she said it? I think at least 10. There were all kinds of instances of this.
3. The structure. As in there is none. The first 15 minutes were ok, and then there was what felt like a lifetime about her son and hockey. About one percent of that endless digression related to her illness and chronic pain.
4. The tone. She's so busy making sure nobody feels sorry for her by trying to be funny, sarcastic, and snarky that I didn't feel much of anything--no empathy, sympathy, and I didn't even relate that much. That's a pretty big miss. Granted, I don't have her illness and type of pain, (she's in much worse shape than I am) but that fact alone shows how lacking the writing is.
She had a couple of interesting things to say that I wish she had delved deeper into, such as how society blames peoples who are sick/in pain as if they brought it on themselves when clearly they didn't. Or her distaste of those who claim something like, "Getting cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me because____________"(fill in the blank). But then she turns around and undercuts what she just said by talking about all the positives that have resulted from her truly horrendous illness. Or, she said she's an advocate, and says if not for her pain meds she couldn't function at all. With all the hoopla about the "opioid crisis," why did she not say more about the fact that there are those who really do need pain meds and who use them responsibly. With her attitude, I was kind of expecting her to take a stronger stance. Yet another miss.
I can never thank Karen enough for writing this book, and letting the world know that people with Sarcoidosis and Chronic Illness are suffering and looking to not only be heard, but solutions. Karen explains the seriousness of the disease with her unique sense of humor, Take the time to read or listen to this, as you are educated with laughter.
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