An accountant and mother of two daughters writes candidly about her struggles with love, life, and suffering.
This debut memoir opens with a traumatic scene. While preparing dinner for herself one night, the author, a longtime lupus sufferer, tripped on her dog’s toy rope and knocked herself unconscious. Too weakened from her disease to stand up, she awakened and crawled toward a telephone to call for help, hoping that one of her daughters would come home soon and find her. Eventually, she fell into a kind of existential limbo, forced to consider why she was alone and urine-soaked on the floor. She lamented her failing relationship with Dave, a fellow accountant who came into constant conflict with her teenage daughters. And although she loved her daughters and wanted to preserve their independence as much as possible, she also resented them for not being more of a help in trying times. In subsequent chapters, Miguel revisits the emotional difficulty of watching her father gradually waste away from lupus, her problematic romance with Dave, her failed first marriage, and her increasingly contentious relationships with her daughters and extended family. Ultimately, the work concerns how suffering is as much a physical experience as an emotional one. The trials that Miguel and her circle faced reveal their flawed humanity. With a deft sense of pacing, the author vividly portrays each person in the narrative (“He was tan, twenty pounds lighter, and had an inner glow”). As a character, Miguel is fully formed: her weaknesses are as sharply drawn as her strengths (“The optimistic attitude I usually possessed had quickly and unknowingly been replaced with a victim mentality”). While the memoir becomes repetitious in its descriptions of Miguel’s numerous physical difficulties, the tight, clear prose remains compelling (“Since the cruise, it felt as though I were being placed back into a cell to finish out a life sentence”). Her surprising visit to a doctor later in the book (her lupus, it seems, may have been misdiagnosed) acts as a much-needed twist: what is the point of Miguel’s suffering? More important, how has her pain informed her relationships, and how will she change her behavior and attitude going forward?
An intense, compelling
account relates the romantic turmoil and physical pain experienced by a career
woman diagnosed with lupus.