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on April 12, 2007
"In noisy wards crowded waiting rooms of country hospitals and clinics, in quiet private rooms in medical center pavilions or in well-appointed waiting rooms, examining rooms, or offices, wherever there are patients, there are long moments of silence, pauses, sometimes preceded by a sigh, a transient stillness when the air feels heavier."

So starts this book--and if you have "been there" for yourself or with a loved one, you know about the silence pauses, the sighs, the anticipation.

Written 10 years ago, and just updated, most of the information will never go out of date because of the perspective we all have: the reality of hearing you have a major illness.

Most people don't give much thought to the meaning of life--how long will they live? This big question brings up the connection between what ails the body, and their soul's need for authenticity, love and purpose.

Most medical doctors work with statistics, based on what you have: "You have about X years/months to live," and usually are not interested in stories about recovery. At those times, WE must take charge of our life and our attitude.

The author says: Once we take the soul seriously--and this is one of the innate beliefs that human beings do have--then we are spiritual beings on a human path rather than human beings who may well be on a spiritual path.

The author is a psychiatrist who understands how one person's diagnosis affects many around them--a decent into another world. Here is where that line between health and wellness is crossed and we enter the realm of the soul.

Before "the discovery" that something is wrong, we live in innocence or denial--and then comes the change--the "after."

The author made so many thought-provoking points about being sick, being hospitalized. How we are supposed to act--for the medical professionals, for our family, for ourself.

She discusses the importance of keeping a journal if we have a life-threatening disease, noting both the small and big things of every-day life.

I had a friend who after a long and valiant struggle died of cancer. She called the cancer "a gift" because of an outpouring of love from her friends, family and supportive community that she had never felt before. Today I still think of her life/her attitude as a "gift" to me.

No one gets of life alive--we are all mortal. The author reminds us that the Chinese pictograph for "crisis" contains the ideograms for both "danger" and "opportunity."

Armchair Interviews says: If illness is threatening how you live, this book will give you strength.
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on July 7, 2008
This is, by far, the best book I've read ( reading) addressing the "whole" person & how illness can affect them..this is an equally great book for the caregivers who want to help, however often in a controlling way, thus not always seeming "to get it." One can open communication with others with this book versus hiding or lying about their feelings & concerns..When I startedto read this book I felt like I "came home" & someone finally understood the real stuff going on..I have gotten this book for others both who are ill & those caring about them ..I am still buying a few more..Excellent book for all
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on March 13, 2008
This, unfortunately, would be a book that may only be purchased by a person who was knowledgeable about Jean Bolen or open-minded about life-threatening illnesses or crises. Care takers would benefit from this book as it would enable them to come out of themselves and understand the person with whom they are dealing. There is so much more to death and the leading up to it than people realize or are willing to acknowledge. It's not complicated. It's a beautiful journey that we all should understand better. Jean Bolen guides us there gently, but clearly.
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on July 4, 2011
If you are a person who doesn't necessarily "go within" to examine the meaning of life or suffering, you won't find this book helpful. If on the other hand, you seek to find meaning or life lessons in your illness, I would recommend this book highly. Jean Shinoda Bolen shows us that sickness and death unite all of us, but the way we approach each can be a healing journey. Her use of the mythology of other cultures turns ancient belief into contemporary teachable moments. Although this is not a light summer read, I believe it belongs on the bookshelf of every household. We are all going to need to refer to it one day.
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on October 13, 2011
I was facing chemotherapy and hair loss. I was SCARED OUT OF MY MIND! This book helped me see it all differently. Told me that I was on a journey to my deepest strength. Calmed me down. SAVED MY LIFE!
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on April 12, 2007
Essential book for all whose lives are currently touched by serious illness. As a health care provider and one who has been personally affected by personal catastrophic health changes, I highly recommend CLOSE TO THE BONE.

Patricia anne Dennison, Pharmacist and author of STOP THE VOICES
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on January 9, 2013
This is one of the best books I've ever read. We need more courageous writers like Jean Shinoda Bolen who discuss the realities of life and death, healing and illness. A must read for anyone who is going to die. (all of us)
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on December 19, 2012
I liked how the author drew parallels to the myth of Persephone. The world changes and will never be the same, but by perseverance and the loyalty of family and friends, you can prevail. I also liked how she stressed that these are times to let go of the relationships and beliefs that bring you down.
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on June 10, 2013
i could relate to so many things in this book, particularly having the female
perspective on disease....dr. bolen has done a great job researching
archetypes and combining them with her own and others experiences
in the disease model...if you feel lonely and unique with your disease,
i believe this book can help you feel a part of one of life's most
intriguing manifestations that is shared by so many of us at different
levels...
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on March 17, 2012
This book was very helpful for me as I dealt with a life-threatening illness. It became my "Bible."I have consequently given it to four friends who have suffered a sudden, unexpected illness. It has also been useful for those supporting family members or friends with a serious illness.
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