Impassioned testimony of a fight for health.



A memoir that explores the idea that women with chronic illnesses need to rally for appropriate medical care.

Making her book debut, Ramey, a writer and musician (known as Wolf Larsen), recounts, with captivating zest, a sorry tale of suffering from a cluster of symptoms that defied diagnosis. “I thought I was the strangest medical case on the East Coast,” she writes, only to discover many others like herself. She was “a woman with a mysterious illness,” a WOMI, chronically exhausted, aching, “likely in possession of at least one autoimmune disease,” and likely to go from physician to physician in search of understanding. The daughter of physicians, Ramey began her quest for help believing unquestioningly in “Magical Pillthink,” the notion “that if something is wrong, there is always a quick fix.” She visited countless specialists and was treated with a host of medications that sometimes temporarily relieved symptoms, but more often not. She experienced “extremely bad—and often explicitly abusive—medical care,” including botched surgeries. The author began to research her condition on her own, making some startling discoveries: the rise of autoimmune diseases in the last 30 years; the significance of the intestinal microbiome to digestive health and fatigue, aching, and “brain fog”; the role of antigens in producing an overactive immune response; physical and emotional traumas that can trigger WOMI symptoms; and microglia, tiny immune cells that protect the brain and nervous system that can become inflamed in response to a variety of stressors. Repeatedly prescribed antidepressants from frustrated doctors, Ramey indicts the medical establishment for its “contempt for women, and for the feminine,” and recommends the new approach of functional medicine, which holds that “diet, lifestyle, and attitude are the cornerstones of health” and incorporates “testing, treating, and stabilizing” the four systems involved in “modern chronic illnesses:” the gut, liver, immune system, and endocrine system. Finally, her condition improved through common-sense changes: “Sleep, movement, a nontoxic environment, and a well-nourished psyche,” Ramey concludes, are the basic needs for recovery.

Impassioned testimony of a fight for health.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-385-53407-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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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 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...


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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