A unique book with a huge mug of freshly brewed coffee – a perfect match, isn’t it?
Let’s see what I thought about ‘Finding Joy’, the story of a girl suffering from Lyme Disease!
I got this book directly from the author, since she kindly asked me to read and review it on my blog. This has no influence over what I’m writing here, this is still my honest and unbiased opinion.
I wonder if Morven-May knows that she was the first ever author who approached me with a request to review their book! I’ve written many NetGalley reviews by now, and I was part of other blog tours where I in a way got into contact with the authors themselves, but she was the first one who personally wrote an e-mail to me and asked me to read her book. I’d like to thank her here so much for this incredible feeling!
I accepted her request not only because of this, but also because this book sounded very interesting! It’s about the effects of Lyme Disease on the heroine and her surroundings, and I supposed it would be very authentic, since the author herself has suffered from the disease.
Well, where to start… First of all, though I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I have to admit that it’s genre had me confused. I knew it must have autobiographical elements, since obviously (and admittedly) that was the inspiration for this book, but because it’s not an actual autobiography and has fictional characters (and I’m sure events as well), I went in expecting more of a novel. That may be my bad, I had every information available. So, for other people not to get things mixed up: I’d say this is a fictional memoir. It can be interpreted as a novel, I think, but many times I felt like it’s more of a memoir. Though the main character is fictional, the author’s presence is very intense. And I have to say, that I love the touch of personal experience and this book is definitely authentic all the way.
This book is basically a lecture on how to treat chronically ill people and a guide to their feelings and inner world. May I say, it’s fantastic at that! It was a very interesting read, and the emotions came through as well: it was heartbreaking and achingly realistic. The author is great at communicating both her feelings and knowledge about Lyme Disease.
Though we get to see several POVs, not only the heroine’s (or the author’s?), and I find that amazing, I felt a bit that the characters themselves were not that well worked-out. They were okay, and they were more than great for the purpose (showing how a chronic disease affects everyone around), but they seemed very stereotypical for me. I’m thinking, though, that this is because of the MC’s disease in the centre itself. The sickness that controls everyone and everything. People actually react to it in a very stereotypical way most of the time, I think. An illness makes people the ill one, the caregiver one, the pitying one, the bad doctor, the nice doctor, the leaving or the sticking friend, instead of being themselves. So, I’ll treat this one as something written this way on purpose. The only thing that I really have an issue with here, is that I didn’t feel a difference at all when another POV was present. It was clearly signaled, so it was obvious who’s talking, but had I only read the style with which it was written, I would’ve no way to figure it out.
On the topic of Lyme Disease: this book was an eye-opener for me, but probably not in the way it was supposed to be. See, I was very surprised that this disease is THIS unknown to people. And yes, you could say that of course I know about it, I went to med school after all. But no, that’s not the reason I was blind to all the ignorance. First off, even the doctors in this book (and I guess, in the author’s life) had common misunderstandings about this disease (not knowing that ticks are very frequent at/near fields? A doctor…?), and I felt that was not only because they didn’t really care about their patient. (Which they didn’t, but now that’s not my point.) Though I never met an actual patient with Lyme, nor a doctor who talked about their personal experience with it, we learnt fairly lot about this disease, the symptoms and the treatment (thought that’s true, mostly of prophylaxis/prevention). Second, I’ve always been under the impression that here in Hungary everyone knows about the dangers of a tick bite. People tend to examine themselves/each other after a hike to make sure they notice if there’s any ticks somewhere on their bodies. Many go to the doctor’s to get it out professionally. I knew that I can get Lyme from ticks already in kindergarten, because I was vaccinated against the tick-borne encephalitis, and I knew that the vaccine doesn’t protect me against Lyme. When we went to class trips near fields and forests in primary school, the accompanying teachers and parents searched us for ticks before shower. Every single one of us. And there were 30 kids! So, I was (unpleasantly) surprised that Lyme Disease is not at all known by the public worldwide.
Let’s Give It a Grade!
- Story: 5/5
- Characters: 4/5
- Style: 3/5
- The Subjective Factor: 4/5
- GPA: 4
The topic in itself is very unique, I think. This book paints a great picture of what a chronically ill person has to endure every day, and holds a mirror to society. Though it is a hard topic, this book was very easy to read, and complicated medical things were very simply, yet accurately explained.
Everyone. Everyone who’s ever had a chronically sick relative or friend. And medical professionals! This is how patients see us. Many of them, at least.
A lot of warm, sugary and watery tea.
‘Beautiful’ by Christina Aguilera.
I suppose I don’t have to explain why.
Well, I have to say this book was better than a textbook at the university at teaching me something. After reading this, I’ll probably not be among the doctors who forget to think about Lyme Disease as a diagnosis that can come into question.
Twitter – @MorvenMay
Facebook – @morvenmay (author)
Website – www.morven-may.co.uk
And since the whole purpose of this book is to raise awareness, here’s the link to Lyme Disease UK, if you’d like to know more! 😉
Reading this book I learnt that because the author and I live in different parts of the world, we have very different experiences with the public knowledge about this particular disease. I would really love to hear about your own experiences and knowledge in the comments below! I’m very interested now to find out what level of awareness there is in different places.
How much do you know about Lyme? Or other tick-borne diseases? Or… well, have you known of this being a problem at all?
I’m keen to see your answers.