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A Great Book,
This review is from: Love and Fatigue in America (Hardcover)
In Love and Fatigue in America, Roger King delivers a unique book in a unique format. Part autobiography, part novel, at times part essay, this is a first person account of the experiences and impacts of a man trying to understand and come to terms with a sudden and overwhelming illness. The narrator's story is informative, sympathetic, insightful, frank, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always authentic.
While the author provides a rare and articulate window into the world of living with a chronic illness, this is not an "issue" book. It is also a book about relationships: with partners, colleagues, strangers, partners' children, pets, and with yourself. It is about what happens to those relationships, and to love and acceptance, when you wake up one day and all the ground rules have changed, without warning and, it turns out, irrevocably.
In that way, the book is also an exploration of the theme and phenomenon of being a stranger in a strange land. The narrator is a Brit dealing with the culture and customs of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. But he is also a healthy, active adult coming to terms with inhabiting a body, mind and soul suddenly overtaken by illness, which brings its own journey of discovery, a new way of life, and which ultimately requires its own measure of bravery. And while we accompany the narrator on a physical journey across the United States, it is the journey into his understanding of his condition and how that shapes every aspect of his life that is the most compelling and rewarding.
Anyone living with a chronic illness will find in this book an insightful, powerful, and often uncannily accurate recounting of their own journey and experience. For those - like myself - who do not have such an illness, it is an informative and enlightening window into the lives of so many around us. For any reader, it is entertaining, compelling, and humourous. Love and Fatigue in America is an important book in many ways, but it is also a great read.