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Patient: The True Story of a Rare Illness Paperback – 1 May 1997

4.7 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 May 1997
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New edition edition (1 May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140258663
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140258660
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 663,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

* A "New York Times" Notable Book of the Year
* A "New York Newsday, Village Voice Literary Supplement, " and "Sunday Times" (UK) Book of the Year
* Finalist for the "Esquire" (UK) Best Nonfiction Award
"Told with great wit and without self-pity, "Patient" is a sobering look at how life can suddenly be transformed." --"New York Times Book Review"
"[A] flawless telling of his unexpected and drawn-out battle with an extremely rare--and nearly fatal--illness." --"New Yorker"
"Watt's spare, delicate prose and natural humility are sweet enough to make this bitter pill of a book go down like candy." --"Entertainment Weekly"
"Funny, frightening, and piercingly vulnerable." --"Interview"
"The reader comes away with an unforgettable understanding of the transformative nature of severe illness. . . . Few have told such a compelling life-story as skillfully." --"San Francisco Chronicle"
"Watt is a sharp observer and a gifted writer. . . . What comes through in this very remarkable story is the author's sense of self and of the order and surprise of life." --"Seattle Times"
"Unlike so many people who've looked death in the eye and lived (long enough) to write about it, Watt doesn't wax philosophical or draw too improbably many lessons from being desperately ill; he just records his own consciousness as it shrinks to the size of his body and his immediate surroundings, which in fact tells us more about what illness means and what it does to us than any sort of positive-minded propaganda." --"Village Voice Literary Supplement"
"Lucid and affecting." --"Time Out"
"Watt writes like a man in a precarious lifeboat keeping his eyes firmly on the life continuing on shore. . . . It's his becoming modesty that allows the book the feel of triumph without ostentation." --"Boston Phoenix"
"At once horrifying and humorous . . . [Watt] proves himself to be a talented and insightful author, his prose enlivenedr --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

In the summer of 1992, on the eve of an American tour, Ben Watt, one half of British pop duo Everything But The Girl, was taken into a London hospital complaining of chest pain. He didn't leave for two and a half months. Still only twenty-nine, Watt had developed a rare life-threatening disease that initially baffled doctors. He needed two months of hospital treatment and four risky operations to remove dead internal tissue before the condition was stabilized. By the time he was allowed home, his ravaged body was forty-six pounds lighter, and he was missing most of his small intestine. But Patient is more than a diary of Watt's hospital days. As he awakens bewildered and disoriented in a hospital bed between bouts of surgery, Watt injects pathos and humor into his medical nightmare, writing about his childhood and reflecting on his family and on his shared life with bandmember and partner Tracey Thorn. The result is a provocative and affecting memoir about life, illness, and survival. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
An incredibly uplifting book, written with an honesty rarely found in autobiography. If you think your life is full of troubles read this! The voyage through terminal illness and out the other side is testament to all that life can throw at you and that few would have the strength to survive.
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Now I know why I'm such a fan of his music (my favourite CD is still is Tempramental). This is the autobiographial story of Ben's astonishing survival after developing Churg-Strauss syndrome, and "losing", in a sense, all but a yard of his small intestine. Though I've spent a lot of time in hospitals (only a fortnight as a patient), I now feel a bit more ready when my time comes. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It's funny, unselfpitying, horrifying, gripping, contemplative, inspiring. Buy it. You will not be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
Really loved this.It was one of those books I deliberately read slowly as didnt want to finish.His writing is very poetic,his horrific descriptions of the illness and its effects on him are very compelling.For some reason it made me quite sad reading it but I seemed to love it and connect to the trauma of it.Definitely helped that I loved EBTG as a maudlin teenager listening to their very early records,but Im sure that a reader unaware of his musical talents would enjoy it just as much.
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I bought this on a whim, having heard a DJ recommend it late one night. Random.

Anyway, one sunny day last week, I picked it up and continued to read until I'd finished it. I put it down briefly to carry out necessary things like eating etc but otherwise, it gripped me.

It is so easily and beautifully written - lyrical and heart-wrenching. I truly loved this book. I love *him* - he's a brilliant person. (I didn't really know who he was until I read the book. Though of course, I listened to and loved "I don't wanna talk about it" for years.)

Good on you, Ben.
Your book reads like a funny, sad, thrilling song.
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This is a painfully honest and extremely well written account of unexpected, unexplained serious illness in a young man and his diagnosis, treatment and recovery. It's very compelling, I read it one sitting. The style is very direct and you feel drawn into the situation. The time spent on hospital wards is very accurately portrayed, especially adjusting to ward life and how your world shrinks, distractions are few, boredom stretches endlessly and one becomes inevitably introspective. This is a very affecting book, it doesn't pull it's punches and is all the more powerful for it. Brilliant. So glad that he has made a good recovery.
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Format: Paperback
I have to initially declare a vested interest in this book, having like Watt been diagnosed with Churg-Straus Syndrome in 2006, suffering cerebral vasculitis and two minor strokes at the age of 39. However be assured this poignant book is not exclusively for CSS sufferers,its reminiscences of hospitilisation and the arduous road to recovery subsequent to illness or accident will be sadly familiar to many readers as it is an inevitable rite of passage we must all endure at some stage in our lives.

Watt brilliantly depicts the withdrawal into oneself, the retreat into a child like, helpless state that illness brings.The sense of your life on hold as you gain snippets of normality through windows or wheel chair bound excursions through hospital corridors, cafes and grounds.He also expertly captures the associated frustration and the initial deluded belief that there will be a return to the pre-illness normality.

Particularly redolent of my own time in hospital is the sense of feeling special and the guilty enjoyment of attention that illness can bring and its attendant influence over relatives and carers.Watt brilliantly captures the awkwardness of parents lurched back into the role of carers and the differing abilities of family members to deal with your illness.But it is the love of and constancy of his partner, Tracy which is the scaffold to his recovery, something I too can closely relate to.

The invasiveness of medical procedures and the indignity they bring is poignantly described.I too can particularly relate to the personal awkwardness of myself and medical staff when administering chemotherapy,the outrageous banality of it and the lack of privacy when coping with nausea.
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Format: Paperback
Brilliantly written account of a terrifying reminder of not knowing what is around the next corner. The writing is of a lyrical quality. I couldn't put it down and was sad to have finished it. Ben could easily write books instead of songs for a living!
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I was sent a second hand copy of this book by one of my sisters who had read it in one day and loved it. She had bought it from Amazon because our other sister had been diagnosed with Churg Strauss syndrome and Ben Watt's name came up in our frantic googling to find more information about this hideous disease. I was almost afraid to read it, but as soon as I opened the book I was hooked. It was so well written, entertaining, interesting, funny, and uplifting. I was a fan of Everything But the Girl, and I realised that I had seen Ben perform on stage maybe a few months after his illness, so that was incredibly cheering (in terms of our own family crisis). The book is compelling reading, even if you have no particular interest in Churg Strauss. It is simply the story of how your life can spiral out of control incredibly quickly and make you re-evaluate your priorities. Really looking forward to reading Ben's new book which I understand is out next year.
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