A bit of a throwback. A memoir of being diagnosed and living with Crohn’s disease, Miller’s book offers a didactic narrative, in Hawkins’s taxonomy, or a questing one, in Frank’s. Hers is one of triumph, if not restitution ... Miller presents her first experience with Crohn’s as an expression of good faith to her readers. She’s willing to be vulnerable, revealing many painful episodes in her life, from the hopeless moments of her illness to the other traumas that haunt her: her parents’ abusive marriage, her father’s alcoholism, a sexual assault by a family member, and her abusive long-term relationship with an addict. That she is willing to admit that she never leaves home without spare underwear contributes to gaining her reader’s trust: She is not trying to paper over her illness’s indignities ... Instead, Miller attempts to convert the ugliness and pain of her experience into something useful—for herself, but also for others ... That change, and coping with it, may be an ongoing, fluid process, but from the beginning, Miller projects a sense of resolution. The form of the book presupposes this redemption: Each chapter begins with an episode from Miller’s life, then segues into the lessons she drew from it ... Though Miller’s experience is with Crohn’s disease, she addresses her book to all sufferers of chronic illness. She gives advice on how to advocate for the best care, how to communicate your needs and set boundaries, and how to readjust your new identity as the sufferer of a chronic illness ... Her advice is empathetic but pragmatic, avoiding the existential quandaries that chronic illness presents ... That ambiguity, Miller acknowledges, can prevent resolution. Indeed, although her illness is chronic and therefore inherently unresolvable, she allows herself the arc of resolution, as though she had been sick and now is cured.
As more is learned about the long-term effects of COVID-19, health and science journalist Miller offers a timely description of the ramifications of a chronic illness. The story of her struggle with Crohn’s disease provides the undergirding for a broader look at how every aspect of life is impacted by any disease that doesn’t kill, but also doesn’t go away ... Miller is open about her own struggles and intertwines autobiographical portions with reflections on life with chronic illnesses ... A clear, no-holds-barred account that will be useful both to those coming to grips with their own chronic illness and also to the people in their lives.
A young writer’s unflinching account of her battle with Crohn’s disease ... a blend of harrowing memoir and self-help tips ... Miller intersperses vivid tales of her struggle with a hard sell for talk therapy and pages of overfamiliar advice on coping with chronic diseases ... Frank reflections and well-worn advice on living with an incurable disease.