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Showing 1-10 of 22 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 32 reviews
on July 8, 2016
Reviewers have cited examples by which they were affected. Mine: the honesty. Yes, "spare", "brutal", "direct" as others described, but what I read was simple narrative, uncloaked in additional verbiage. I don't know that writing seemingly without caution is common; in retrospect, I'm surprised she did it and got away with it. I heard anger, cynicism and sarcasm spoken not to develop a story line but as though straight from the mouth of a friend in a hospital bed reacting to pummeling. I reveled in it.
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on January 19, 2017
This memoir challenges stereotypes of other illness memoirs, which usually portray the writer as heroically overcoming an illness through steadfast courage and persistence. Here, we get a more realistic look at what it is like to live day-to-day with a chronic illness, including fascinating details about the physical self-care tasks the author learned to perform. Highly recommend!
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on March 14, 2011
A neuropathy patient shares her memoir from the real world of the patient in words beaming with the raw honesty of unpolished realism, humor inspired by places, people and experiences while spreading realistic hope which neuropathy patients will appreciate. Whatever type of "pod" people (neuropathies assumed causes) you have been invaded with, you will identify with many of her experiences while learning to laugh at life's ironies. Sara brings great humor to her writing, humor springing out of the frustrations and successes of modern medicine and the complex skilled and unskilled humans who come to the place we live. Hope in people explodes as Sarah writes of a touching episode of the developer of a new medical machine and during his visit she shared the wonderful things the machine was doing for her and when he left the room bursting with unspoken joy over his invention, he returned giving her a banquet of flowers. I cried happiness. She ends the book with "This is suffering's lesson: pay attention. The important part might come in a form you do not recognize." If you are a neuropathy patient struggling as we all do with the experience, reaching for hope somewhere and the loss and gaining of meaning, you will love this book. LT.COL. EUGENE B RICHARDSON, USA RETIRED NEUROPATHY PATIENT WITH CIDP AND AUTONOMIC NEUROPATHY FROM EXPOSURE TO AGENT ORANGE IN VIETNAM 1968.
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on June 7, 2017
Not that this author is an incompetent writer, she isn't, but I found the book to be very clinical, written without emotion, and the author herself to be somewhat unlikable. Would not recommend.
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VINE VOICEon September 13, 2008
Sarah Manguso, afflicted at age twenty-one (in 1995) with a Guillain-Barre-like syndrome called CIDP, wrote The Two Kinds of Decay after seven years of remission from her illness. (p 2) "For seven years I tried not to remember much because there was too much to remember, and I didn't want to fall any further behind with the events in my life." Of the disease, the reader learns (p 19) "The condition may resolve spontaneously, relapse and remiss indefinitely, or progress and terminate in death." Talk about an uncertain future. In this succinct, simply-written story of a life, Ms. Manguso tells all: of her initial symptoms (numbness in her feet); treatment (and mis) including hours spent undergoing apheresis (p 10) "the process of separating blood into its components" and the painful procedure of having a permanent line surgically implanted in her chest (the apparatus shown on the cover); interactions with hospital staff, friends, family and complete strangers; the effects of the various treatments on her body; and just plain living with a rare, rotten, debilitating condition. Of a doctor, who tries to quantify her high level of suffering, she writes (p 83, 84) "he didn't understand yet that suffering, however much and whatever type, shrinks or swells to fit the size and shape of a life." Near the end of the book she shares (p 171) "Having spent my twenties expecting to die, I turned thirty and arrived in the afterlife with nothing left to do." She's done a lot since then, notably: running, writing, living and loving. She ends with a line explaining the title (I won't spoil it) and shares what she learned from years of agony, (p 183) "This is suffering's lesson: pay attention." The nine sentences that follow are equally excellent. Also good: Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox, Mountain Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder and There is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene.
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on January 8, 2016
Amazing memoir. There were several tough medical scenarios to read thru, but the reader braves them because the writer did. One can only admire the courage and strength it took to live with her condition, then marvel at the skill it takes to relive all of that in writing.
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on April 10, 2010
This is an unsentimental and unapologetic memoir of illness. The poetry here left me breathless. The disease Manguso describes is a terrible one, but she weathers it gracefully.

The time line is not a linear one - events in the book take place as if they are just foggy memories and not a plotted story - a realistic and satisfying take on the memoir narrative.

Every word is carefully placed, like an IV or a scalpel. Manguso is a surgeon-poet, wasting nothing. Very precise, very beautiful, very painful.

I've read this book twice now. It was recommended to me by a stranger at a party when I revealed my own recent diagnosis of kidney failure and an autoimmune disease. The book makes me feel hopeful - if she could do it, I can do it. It makes me feel courageous. It offers solidarity in the way few others can - without pity, without tears, without fear. And yet, the book makes me cry.

The story of an illness could be trite. Manguso avoids cliche and does not tell us she has learned to be a better person, that she has found God, or even that she is bitter. She tells us simply that illness forces one to live in and for the moment. While she doesn't herald this epiphany as a triumph, I certainly do.
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on January 16, 2014
This book was very quick read, but yet was very powerful. What she chooses to include in her memoir was an interesting way of discussing her experiences with disease. She does not have self-pity; that is inspiring.
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on April 19, 2013
I learned many many things while reading this book. The author writes it in a way that helps you understand her patchy memory of all the medical treatment she went through. Overall a great book.
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on August 29, 2013
I liked the book. That isn't an exciting way to describe this,but it is better than average and not as good as excellent. I enjoyed reading it and theauthor's physical and emotional struggle were palpable.
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