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Well Enough Alone: A Cultural History of My Hypochondria Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; First Edition edition (July 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594489912
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594489914
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,664,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"You will laugh. Then you will feel guilty for laughing. Then you'll laugh some more."
-A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically

"Who knew life as a hypochondriac could be so witty and hilarious?"
-Glamour

"Fellow sufferers will find it a stitch."
- People

"Charming, quick, and very funny."
-San Francisco Chronicle

"Well Enough Alone gave me enormous reading pleasure from a beguilingly smart and perfectly healthy writer."
-John Hodgman, author of More Information than You Require

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Jennifer Traig is the author of Devil in the Details: Scenes from an Obsessive Girlhood and a frequent contributor to The Forward and McSweeney’s. She holds a Ph.D. in Literature and resides in Berkeley, California.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Funny,dry,sharp without being in any way sad.
Connie J. Steiger
In fact, the book may be too short because you miss her when the book is over.
YumYum
Well Enough Alone is a fascinating and funny book.
Debra Hamel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By YumYum on July 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished reading this book, and I can honestly say it was written with such wit and insight that it made the whole subject of personal and historical hypochondriasis entertaining. (How's that for an opener?) It is almost impossible to believe that someone with such insight into a subject could actually suffer from the symptoms she imagines. As a nurse, I empathized on every page. As a reader, I felt guilty being so gleefully entertained by her experiences. It is hard to find a book that truly is humorous without seeming contrived, and this is one of those rare books. Traiger has the gift of keeping a narrative going - on a fairly limited subject- and never lets the subject gets stale. In fact, the book may be too short because you miss her when the book is over.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Peter McGrath on July 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I had the time of my life reading this book. It's fascinating and informative -- who knew that hypochondria used to be chic? -- but also hilarious. I laughed helplessly more times than I can count. David Sedaris better watch his back!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By groupworker on August 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Her other book, Devil in the Details, was one of my favorite all time books. I really enjoyed Well Enough Alone and quickly sailed through the book in just two nights. I laughed out loud frequently and look forward to sharing it with 1 or 2 friends who might see themselves in the book!!! While it won't go into the list of one of my all time favorites, if you enjoy a silly and sarcastic, yet beautifully honest look at human nature -I would definitely recommend Well Enough Alone. I love Jennifer's writing and look forward to all of her future books.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on September 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Jennifer Traig was pretty sure she had cancer. Also, lupus, tuberculosis and kidney failure. And herpes, rickets and Lyme disease. Plus, she might have had a heart attack somewhere along the way. As a hypochondriac, Traig is constantly convincing herself that she has been stricken with all kinds of illnesses; the symptoms are real, but the results are always negative. Or, almost always. She does have obsessive compulsive disorder and irritable bowel syndrome. She suffered from an actual eating disorder and, she will tell you, has frizzy hair.

While hypochondriacs exist only as the butt of bad jokes for most of us, Traig's latest memoir, WELL ENOUGH ALONE, explores the disorder in a personal and compelling way. Traig is often the butt of her own jokes, but this book makes it clear that hypochondria is no laughing matter.

Traig explains that hypochondria doesn't generally manifest until adulthood, yet she had signs of it as a child. In second grade she was worried about brain aneurysms, not to mention contaminated school lunches and injury from risky playground equipment. Her family seemed to be full of hypochondriacs, some of them genuinely sick, and her parents' medical professions also gave her fuel for the fire. She soon figured out that doctors worked hard and fussed over the sick, who got to rest and be pampered. Being sick, she reasoned, was the better deal. As she got older, the worry turned into real hypochondria, and she often found herself in the doctor's office with lists of pains and symptoms, rashes and spots.

Her teenage years were consumed with OCD and her eating disorder, and this seemed to keep the hypochondria at bay. But it resurfaced in college, and she began to self-medicate.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Connie J. Steiger on August 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Funny,dry,sharp without being in any way sad. I laughed the hypochondria out of my body. I don't know why another review suggested that it was negative for Jennifer to "use an excuse" to talk about herself, isn't that what autobiographical material is all about? I would read anything this author wrote about herself. She's funnier than most authors and is an excellent writer as well. Prepare to laugh and laugh again, this book is worth the read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Aron on August 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I had so much fun reading Jennifer Traig's memoir, I was sorry when it ended. Jennifer has such an exquisite, dry wit you'll find yourself laughing out loud at all of her imagined health crises, perhaps recognizing a bit of yourself in each one. (And I thought I was the only one thinking about Lupus while my classmates were resting their heads during nap time!) Let's hope that when Jennifer does actually go, it's of old age.

Wendy Aron, author of Hide & Seek: How I Laughed at Depression, Conquered My Fears and Found Happiness
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