Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended read, 10 Jun 2012
This review is from: Love and Fatigue in America (Hardcover)
While reading Roger King's novel, Love and Fatigue in America, I felt compelled to constantly put the book down and take a deep breath. It seemed as if the book was being written from inside my own body, precisely describing my own personal feelings and the myriad of odd symptoms that fluctuate from hour to hour. I have never before read a book which has spoken so directly to me or my life. I found myself feeling very sad for the suffering and constant loss the narrator endured but also, selfishly, feeling sorry for the losses in my own life.

The ease with which King describes the life of someone suffering from M.E./CFS without ever saying "Woe is me" is truly unique. He takes the reader on a journey, from a healthy excited young man looking forward to beginning a new life in America, to a man living life from the confines of bed: his life reduced not to what he sees out his window, but only to the branches and limbs that frame that window. He goes from living life on the outside, to living life inside his body. The illness has an existence of its own that wages war on the life he lived before becoming ill. We then follow him in his attempt to make a life for himself given the restrictions imposed by an illness that robs him of friends, lovers, employment and most of all, energy.

Although the book describes living with a chronic illness very accurately, it is also filled with humour and insights into life and medicine in America. The book is actually an enjoyable read - which is a tricky thing to do given the subject matter. It is neither morose nor self pitying; in fact, it is a great story and the reader is anxious to know how things unfold for the narrator. We like him even when he can't like himself.

If you have M.E./CFS then this book will speak directly to you and offer a validation of your own experiences. If you do not have M.E./CFS but have a dear friend, loved one, or family member with the illness, this book will give you insight into their life that many of us are not always able to articulate, precisely because of the illness.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Having had M.E./CFS for 25 years and suffered the humiliations of doctors, friends, and acquaintances' lack of understanding, it was gratifying to see someone write such a wonderful novel from the inside looking out. I only wish this novel existed years ago! I think many of you will want to buy this novel for all those who doubted you and found it easier to walk away than take the time to listen and learn about your illness. King tells his story so eloquently that I know no one who reads it could ever say again, "I'm tired too, but I can't afford to be ill".

I now look forward to reading King's other novels.
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