Tangled Expectations by Cathy Asselin

Tangled Expectations

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One woman’s journey through illness and alternative medicine.

In 1995, author Asselin began experiencing strange bouts of muscle weakness and was quickly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Finding conventional Western medicine harsh and uncaring, Asselin turned to alternative methods, primarily in the form of bodywork and chiropractic therapy from two healers. They become her guides on a journey of self-discovery and healing that, contrary to similar books, doesn’t end in unequivocal success or monolithic pronouncements about medicine, the body or the nature of reality. Though she believes “MS is a pretty harsh lesson but it was probably the best lesson for me,” Asselin never strays into sappy pronouncements or heavy-handed spirituality. Her breezy, funny writing, with its healthy mix of skepticism and openness, makes for brisk reading. The author experiences ups and downs with all of her treatments, as well as in her relationships with her parents, well-meaning friends and assistants, all of whom have varying responses to her changing body and abilities. A large part of the book explores how her inner demons—self-doubt, guilt and fear, among others—affected her health, with quotes and theories from various writers and thinkers, including Ram Dass, Richard Bach and Don Miguel Ruiz. Though this section meanders and is slightly less personable than others, it remains interesting and thought-provoking, peppered with Asselin’s enthusiastic and wry voice. A harrowing bus accident breaks up this section, and the author’s surprising resiliency would seem to indicate that alternative therapies work, but she never flat-out attributes her well-being to any one modality, leaving readers to draw their own conclusions. Those curious about alternative medicine will find this book refreshing, engaging and inspiring.

Both serious and fun; a gripping, moving account.

Pub Date: June 12th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1460213094
Page count: 264pp
Publisher: FriesenPress
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2013


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