Sunday, January 13, 2008

Book Review: Sickened

I started and finished reading Sickened today. Phew. Rough stuff. The writing itself is not as passionate as many of the darker memoirs that I've read, but the story is just as tragic, if not more so. It's as twisted as Running with Scissors, where you find yourself reading with your mouth wide open in shock.

Sickened is the story of a girl victimized by her parents - verbally, physically and, more specifically by her mother, via the fabrication of a series of illnesses which define her difficult youth. The author, Julie Gregory, was a Munchausen by proxy child, suffering for years as her mom poisoned and starved her silently. An summary from the inside cover:

"From early childhood, Julie Gregory was continually X-rayed, medicated, and operated on in the vain pursuit of an illness that was created in her mother's mind. Munchausen by proxy is the world's most hidden and dangerous form of child abuse - but Julie Gregory not only survived, she escaped the powerful orbit of her mother's madness and rebuilt her identity as a vibrant, healthy young woman."

Sickened is a good book, and it's a quick read at 244 pages. It is a rare insight into a hidden, unknown disease, but more importantly, it is a detailed story of a girl's survival. Unfortunately, I did not find the writing particularly gripping per se, but the story is worthy of your time. It's shocking that this disease even exists, as anyone with even a sliver of maternal or paternal instincts in their body could not imagine doing the things that these mothers/caregivers seem to be capable of.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Mom said...

Charissa,

I recently talked to an old neighbor who had been denied visitations with her grandchildren, as was her son, their father denied visits. They were not denied by the courts, which they went to again and again at great cost to themselves but by the children’s mother who constantly came up with reasons, such as the children are sick - or they would just be gone, out of the house when it was daddy’s turn.
One of the two children was very ill and was known from birth to have a very shortened life span but the other was well until her sister died. After that she began suffering from odd illnesses and was on 22 separate meds and was taken to the hospital. The child was under 6. The child doctor was on vacation when the sub doctor that was filling in noticed the mother giving this child some extra meds - upon investigation the child was taken from the mom, placed in the father and grandparents care - Munchausen’s by Proxy.

We think it doesn't happen but it does.

At this point the child is doing well and has asked very little about mommy, though you never know what a small child is thinking. It will come out one way or the other. I just hope they can continue to have custody, the courts are very confusing sometimes.

January 13, 2008 7:24 PM  
Blogger jpb2525 said...

Intresting...might look that one up!

January 14, 2008 12:03 AM  
Blogger Ashlie said...

Sounds kinda like "A boy named It".... very sad.

Tell me how Pillars of the Earth is 'cause I'd like to read it.

January 14, 2008 2:50 PM  
Blogger atlanta social said...

That sounds scary. People are so f-ed in the head.

January 18, 2008 9:57 AM  

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