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September 13th, 2007 - Deirdre on reading, writing and living

Sep. 13th, 2007 10:05 am Book # 37: Sickened: The True Story of a Lost Childhood, by Julie Gregory

Even as an adult, her body ached for mother's love. Instead of the kindness, compassion, and protection that every child deserves, Julie Gregory got poked and manhandled, drugged and abused.

The problem wasn't that she was a "sick kid" with a mysterious illness that her tireless mother was determined to "get to the bottom of." It was that she had a mother who was delighted to get sympathy by playing the martyr--the good Mom with a deathly-ill child.

When Ms. Gregory heard about the syndrome "Munchausen by proxy" she instantly recognized her life. "The perpetrator, usually a mother, makes an otherwise healthy child sick in order to seek continued medical care."

Her history of relentless visits to doctors' offices, pills, medications, painful procedures, surgeries, and her mother's endless complaints about how she's "giving up her life to care for a sick kid," suddenly make sense.

This memoir is a five-alarm fire. Compelling and heartbreaking, anyone who has suffered parental abuse or neglect will see a tiny shard of their lives reflected in Ms. Gregory's mirror.

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