MISDIAGNOSED

THE SEARCH FOR DR. HOUSE

Beamon’s first memoir (I Didn't Work This Hard Just to Get Married, 2009) tells of how multiple specialists struggled to diagnose her many ailments.
The author began her battle with chronic illness in her mid-20s, just as she started a new high-pressure job as a television journalist in New York City. Early on, her symptoms descended upon her with vigor, including abdominal and joint pain, debilitating fatigue and fevers. She collapsed at work, at home and even on her first overnight stay with a man who became her longtime boyfriend. Soon, her life revolved around exam rooms, lab tests and medical forms. Beamon hid her condition at work despite growing weaker as years passed. Eventually, after both her parents had health scares of their own, Beamon became despondent about ever feeling well again. Her desperation, frustration and, later, anger at being subjected to multiple hospital visits, invasive exams, and increasingly befuddled experts led her to search for a Sherlock of rare illnesses—her own “Dr. House,” as in the former Fox television drama House, M.D. Using Google, Beamon found her doctor-savior in an autoimmune disorder specialist named Dr. Reed; once the physician gave her condition a name (or, rather, a collection of initials followed by a numeral: IgG4-related systemic disease), Beamon found peace of mind at last. Much of the book follows her numbing routine of doctors’ appointments, which becomes less distressing and more mundane as the book goes on. At first, her confusion and anger at each inconclusive test result seem overwrought, but later, her voice turns jaded, reflecting the toll that the anxiety had taken on her mind and body. Beamon includes moments when her precarious health is in check, including intimate rendezvous with men in her life. At times, she alternates naughty sex acts with graphic medical incidents, and this variety is engaging—even shocking. However, it also makes the book’s plot seem uneven. Overall, the author’s vacillating health status drives much of the action, and at times, her pessimistic inner monologue can feel draining, yet she rarely succumbs to self-pity.

A saga of dealing with a chronic illness that shows how health intertwines with work, love and life.

Pub Date: July 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1500436674

Page Count: 344

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2014

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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