GOING THE DISTANCE: Living a Full Life with Multiple Sclerosis and Other Debilitating Diseases by Moira Griffin

GOING THE DISTANCE: Living a Full Life with Multiple Sclerosis and Other Debilitating Diseases

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A bracingly honest look at the effects of multiple sclerosis on one New Yorker's life. When Griffin got depressed, she counted on her excellence in sports to boost her ego. A young would-be writer who worked at the stables near Central Park and worked out with weights in her spare time, Moira considered a six-mile run around Washington Square Park a good way to work off tension. She found it particularly annoying, therefore, when she began tiring easily at work, stumbling on the sidewalk, and crying into her pillow at night for no apparent reason. She chalked it up to depression over a recent romantic breakup until her sister took her to a neurologist. A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis nearly shattered Griffin's already precarious sense of self. In this highly personal description of a young, single woman's encounter with a debilitating disease (though in the author's case, the sclerosis became evident only when she was tired, and did not grow much worse after the initial onslaught), Griffin insists on asking the most difficult questions (did she get multiple sclerosis, or at least welcome it, as an unconscious bid for sympathy at a time when she was feeling unloved?), and revealing even the unflattering phases she went through in her adjustment to a new, painfully limited routine (at one point she stole her roommate's sleeping pills when contemplating suicide). Her direct prose evokes an eccentric, imperfect woman whose most basic assumptions once depended on her personal attractiveness and athletic ability, and is all the more inspiring for the honest descriptions of the self-doubts she experienced while reassessing her future. Griffin is not only a brave, if quirky, role model for the disabled; she is also an astonishingly skillful writer who has produced a moving, involving memoir.

Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 1989
Publisher: Dutton