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LOUISE by Louise Krug

LOUISE

Amended

By Louise Krug

Pub Date: April 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-936787012
Publisher: Black Balloon Publishing

Memoir of a life turned upside down by illness.

Krug begins her slender memoir with the story of her involvement in a bit of journalistic subterfuge, following Britney Spears around while trying not to get caught at it. “I was a pretty girl with an unknown face—not unusual for the Four Seasons resort in Santa Barbara,” she writes. “I would not stand out.” But life had other plans for her. Thanks to the “medical fluke” of a burst blood vessel in the pons region of the brain, she found herself in the emergency room. Things went from bad to worse: Soon she was seeing double, her face a rictus of pain, her body refusing to cooperate in doing the slightest task, walker and wheelchair and eye patch her constant props. The dramatic apex of the book comes early on, as she suffers while doctors come and go, talking as if she were not there about a patient who may or may not recover. Krug is honest to a fault about these out-of-body moments, and she writes with an easygoing twang about what’s happening to her: “Things in the brain move around like prizes in a Jell-O salad.” If that image doesn’t mean anything in places without such culinary treats, then she frequently offers parallel takes on the same event, for the trick of the book is its employment of different points of view. Krug’s mother, friends and a much-put-upon boyfriend all figure in the telling of the tale. The shift from one to the other and back to first-person is not always smooth or successful, but the point is made: A terrible affliction may befall just one person, but a surrounding company of players is implicated in the proceedings. The best parts of the book are Krug’s occasional notes on how the rest of us can be accommodating—and not patronizing.

There are fine moments here, but also considerable padding, so that, like so many other books, this is really a magazine article—interesting and readable, but an article all the same.