Friday, May 1, 2009

Major letdown

Happy Friday, everyone! We made it through another work week, and are now rewarded with two days of blissful freedom!!!! :-)

So, I finished Sickened. And by finished, I mean, skimmed. This book started off really good and completely tapered off and got weird.

The book started off interesting enough- the first third of the book was really focused on the subject at hand, Munchausen by Proxy syndrome. The author endures numerous trips to the hospital, doctors, and specialists, while her mother fabricates and embellishes medical symptoms that her daughter supposedly has. Whether she gave her medicine or made her sick on purpose, I'm not sure. The author did mention that she was malnourished and either fed sugary junk food or just not fed at all. She was not given a lunch or money from lunch, and would barely get any dinner. At one point, her mother gets angry with a doctor who refuses to do open heart surgery on Julie, just to see if there "could" be a problem with her heart. Why that didn't signal a red flag within the doctor, I don't quite understand- what kind of mother suggests open heart surgery like it's a simple CAT-scan or MRI, and then gets angry when she is told that the surgery isn't needed, and that her daughter's tests come back fine? Most parents are beyond relieved to hear that news. Yet no one picks up on it. At this point, I was really intrigued, and wanted to keep reading, to find out what would happen to Julie as she got older, and how it would all be revealed eventually.

And then the book kind of completely fell apart. The last two-thirds of it are an absolute mess. I hope I don't give too much away here, in case anyone is interested in reading this- so I'll try not to give any spoilers here. But I felt like the book completely went off the topic of MBP syndrome and instead focused on the other disturbing parts of this poor girl's horrific childhood. If her childhood portrayal is accurate, then it sounds like MBP was, quite honestly, the least of her problems. In general, she suffered immense emotional and physical abuse from both parents on a daily basis. It sounds like both of her parents were seriously mentally ill. They lived in a secluded trailer in rural Ohio, kept loaded guns all throughout the house and constantly pulled them on each other, the mother was constantly threatening suicide, would lie to her husband and make up stories about the kids misbehaving just so he would beat them, the parents burned down their trailer for the insurance money, and once they got it, they actually abandoned their two children and went their separate ways, leaving them in a log cabin that didn't even have a toilet, etc. There are dozens of more examples I could list. I felt like every page, the abuse got worse and there would be a more terrifying story worse than the page before. I had a really hard time getting through it, as it's not really a book for the faint-hearted, which I definitely am. I had to skim through a lot of the medical procedures, and then once the book got away from all that, I had to skim the descriptions of the physical abuse. It got very graphic at times. And the writing had started out strong, but then it got jumpy and rambled all over the place. And the ending is just really abrupt and weird, with no closure. I don't want to give too much away, but I will say at least that.

I was really disappointed with this book. It was beyond depressing and beyond disturbing. My heart just breaks for this poor woman, all she had to endure- I didn't exactly grow up in the Brady household, but my parents might as well been Mike and Carol B. compared to the two monsters this author had for parents. She went through things that I couldn't even bring myself to imagine- couldn't even bring myself to read. But I bought this book hoping to get some real insight into MBP syndrome- something I really know almost nothing about- and I feel that the book hardly addressed it at all. It is really more of a memoir of graphic child abuse- while a very serious topic, not exactly what I wanted to read about or why I picked up this book. I don't feel that I learned much about MBP at all.

I'll certainly never read this again. I'll just redonate it to the library. Well, at least the $2 I spent on it went to a good cause! :-) And I hope that in writing it, it helped to heal the author's wounds a little. I don't even know how someone even attempts to recover from a childhood like that. I doubt you can. But hopefully in writing this book, she got a little closure.

I needed a really, really fun book after that. A light topic and a fun read. No way I could deal with anything heavy or intense after that! And I certainly got my wish!

DSCI1347 Can you believe, this is the second book I've picked from the Media Book Sale that was just two weeks ago??? I've got books that have been sitting on my shelves for, like, five years unread, and my last two picks are some of my most recent purchases! I assure you, I give that box of titles a crazy good shakeup for a minute or two and then pick with my eyes closed- so this is just a big coincidence! Why can't I coincidentally pick the winning Powerball numbers??? :-D

Anyway, I wound up with Falcon Crest, by Patrick Mann. As most of us were 80s' babies, you probably either have maybe heard of this show, or it's possible your mom was watching it while she was giving you baby food. :-D Falcon Crest was a primetime soap opera that was on TV from 1981-1990. It focused on a wealthy family that owned a Napa Valley winery, and a rival family that also owns a winery. If your parents watched Dynasty, Dallas, or Knots Landing, then chances are they watched this too. Ask them- I'll bet they've at least heard of it. My parents didn't watch this, but my mother was a huge Knots Landing fan. As a result, I grew up watching it, and I loved it as a kid, even though I didn't know what the hell was going on. All I knew is that no one worked and everyone had beautiful houses near the beach- my dream life!!! (It still is!!!!) :-) Anyway, the usual soap opera antics ensue here, I'm sure- the backstabbing, the cheating, the dying, the evil twins, it's probably all in here! I could definitely use some mega-over-the-top cheesiness right now after my last read, and we all know that anything from the 1980s has at least a little bit of a cheese factor in there somewhere, so I'm hoping that this will be a light, stupid, and silly read (I mean, check out the cover of the book alone! Hello, 1984!!!). And I'm still working my way through the second season of Knots Landing that I just got a few weeks ago, so this is the perfect accompaniment! :-D

Has anyone ever gotten hooked on a soap opera? Which ones? I watched all my mom's as a kid- she liked Guiding Light, All My Children, and of course, Knots Landing- and I kept watching All My Children throughout college, and some of my college girlfriends were hooked on this now-defunct soap on NBC called Passions- OMG, it was SO bad, but we LOVED it- we used to not schedule any classes at 1 PM so we could make sure we could watch it! We did that all four years! (Why we didn't think to tape it is beyond me, LOL!). Anyway, it was awful- ridiculous supernatural plots, and really terrible acting- worse than regular soap operas!-, and it's not even on the air anymore. Here's some info about it here. Come on, 'fess up! I did, so it's your turn!

All right, I'm off to go make my grocery lists- I'm getting up bright and early tomorrow morning to get my grocery shopping done- I like to get all my errands all out of the way on Saturday morning, so I have the rest of the weekend to relax and not worry about it- tomorrow we're taking a trip to Trader Joe's (yay!) and Wegmans (YAY!!!!). Also I'm hoping to get in a trip to Kohls to pick up some new clothes. I have some gift cards, and I'm in desperate need of some new work clothes! I'm totally worn out from this crazy busy week, so the rest of my night involves making my lists and checkin' them twice (like Santa!), and curling up in bed with my remote (Food Network! Say Yes to the Dress! Golden Girls! Friday night TV isn't all that bad!!!), and maybe my newest read (we'll see; I'm pretty beat, so my mental span might not stretch much further than a magazine). And I might or might not cap off my evening with some microwave popcorn. What can I say... I really know how to live it up on Friday nights, don't I? ;-D Hey, leave me alone. I'm getting old and I had a rough work week. The Golden Girls understand! :-D

Happy Friday!

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