This is a collection of 14 contemporary patients' accounts of dealing with their illness or injury. (The patients, four men and ten women, including the editors, are all writers.) Among them the stories cover numerous medical conditions: erythroblastosis, environmental illness, obsessive-compulsive disorder, hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, hip replacement, H.I.V., Crohn's disease, broken leg, ruptured cervical disc, myelitis, rheumatoid arthritis, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, lupus, alcoholism, multiple sclerosis, diabetic retinopathy, breast cancer, severe facial scarring, and depression. The collection is unified by a focus on selfhood--the recovery, discovery, or reconstruction of the psyche that the editors propose is the deepest form of healing.


The editors and writers who make up this collection have a fine sense of the weave of medical, emotional, and spiritual factors in the process of healing. The editors tell us that one of their goals was to collect these stories before recovery, in its flight from vulnerability, had erased the patients' memory of their losses and the often painful adjustments through which they could be accommodated. The idea worked beautifully. The writers do not rush to present themselves as healed, but tend to linger with the difficulty, ambiguity, and ambivalence of the middle. The stories make rich and moving reading for anyone with an interest in the details of the experience of illness, and the collection is a natural for the teaching of the patient's point of view.



Place Published

New York




Patricia Foster & Mary Swander

Page Count