Top positive review
19 people found this helpful
A completely absorbing, wonderful, colourful history.
on 11 October 2011
I very rarely write reviews on Amazon, but having seen the misleading and rather reactionary comments that have been made by other reviewers, I felt I had to set things straight.
My husband has been an M.E. sufferer for over ten years, so I am no stranger to the frustrations others are referring to. However, it is totally ludicrous to review an entire book based on a few passing references in the first pages, particularly if you haven't read the rest of the book. I strongly suspect that this is the case for most of these reviewers here. Please don't let the other reviews blind you to a fantastic piece of writing on a very compelling topic. This book isn't even about M.E.
Hustvedt offers the most colourful, delightful and compelling account of the stories surrounding three women diagnosed with hysteria in late 19th century Paris, women who because of their diagnosis became world famous. Equally fascinating is the account of the hospital where these women lived, their dealings with the doctors and photographers who dealt with them on a daily basis, and the incredible Professor Charcot. Seriously, don't miss out on delving into this incredible history. The final chapter contextualises this history and discusses why it is relevant today. Absolutely fascinating.
I began reading this book yesterday and found it utterly gripping. I read it for three hours straight while my son was at his childminder, had to put it down reluctantly when the time was up, but still thought about it all day. The writing is fabulous, very very accessible, entertaining, concise, thought provoking. I was particularly drawn into the account of Charcot, (I keep imagining him sharing his dinner table with a monkey!) and found myself wondering if he had ever entertained or been entertained by other contemporary prominent Parisians I have studied. I couldn't help but wonder what he would have made of them.
This is the best non-fiction I've read in absolutely ages. My copy is on loan from the British Library, but I love it so much I came on here today to buy myself a copy to keep.