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The State of Me Kindle Edition
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'Stylistically The State of Me is an easy, unpretentious read, peppered with acerbic internalisations that every ME sufferer wants to vocalise to every well-meaning person with a suggestion on how to get better. That said, there is no real bitterness to the book, quite the contrary, and the stories of those surrounding the narrator (nostalgically evoking the 1980s) give it many layers.' Mischa Hiller, author of Sabra Zoo and Shake Off '
'The amazing feat of this novel is to give one a sense of the pain and frustration of this condition, and yet to be bouncing with life, the inner life and the irrepressible psyche of Helen'Elizabeth Baines, author of The Birth Machine
‘A remarkable first novel … word perfect on neurological ME' Tony Britton, Publicity Manager, ME Association--This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B003VWDOKM
- Publisher : The Friday Project (24 Jun. 2010)
- Language : English
- File size : 846 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 512 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 486,773 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer reviews:
Top reviews from United Kingdom
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There were some things that really rang true for me: the ‘conversations with a stranger’ peppered throughout illustrate how difficult it is to explain your illness and describe your life to someone who doesn’t know what it’s like. For example, this:
stranger You don’t look ill.
me That’s good, isn’t it?
stranger You seem to have a lot of energy.
me That’s ‘cos we’re sitting down just talking.
stranger Why can’t you do a job where you can sit down?
me Because it’s not just my legs. If I overdo it my arms feel mashed up and my head shuts down. I can’t think straight.
stranger I see.
me You don’t believe me, do you?
stranger No, not really.
And she captures so well that feeling of the days passing without having done anything useful:
stranger What did you do today?
me I made cheese scones and put a dead bee in the bin.
Some things felt very familiar: my illness kicked off with a virus, like hers, for example, but other things were different to my experience. Her kickstarter virus was Coxsackie virus, mine was Epstein-Barr Virus (mononucleosis); she had developed Irritable Bowel Syndrome as a result of the Cocksackie virus, whereas I don’t have any gastrointestinal symptoms; when I overdo things it’s my legs, heart, breathing and concentration which are most affected, whereas if she overdid things her arms, legs and concentration were affected; the progress of her illness was quite static, and like many people with ME she got a virus and didn’t really get better, whereas my illness has been characterised by dramatic relapses and gradual deterioration. It reminded me of how varied ME can be, and yet the hallmark feature of post-exertional malaise and muscle exhaustion was described so well that it felt instantly recognisable as ME.
Her tone is nicely British-sardonic humorous, and I found it to be a highly enjoyable, well-written, and witty journey through the life of an eminently likeable ME patient, written by someone who really understands the illness.
There are many laugh out loud moments and dark humour throughout. Many times, I had to stop to read out pithy one-liners to my partner, they were too good to be kept to myself!
I would recommend this book to anyone who has experienced ME/CFS or is interested in the condition. Through one person's experience, the book clearly explains how ME/CFS is so much more than being tired all the time, and so much more than its psychological effects.
While Helen is central, she doesn't dominate - all the characters quite literally have a life of their own, and the changing nature of relationships and emotions is portrayed with honesty and sensitivity. It covers a full decade at just the right pace, beautifully capturing the contrasts of tedium and hope with the passing of time and life events. The style is gritty, witty, wry and dry - very Scottish. No waffle.
I was a biochemistry student in Glasgow in the 80s/90s and I felt very nostalgic reading this book - but that was just a bonus. Even for places in the book I haven't been, somehow I felt I was visiting them too, so evocatively are they described.
First and foremost, this book is a great read (I could hardly put it down). And if it is trying to raise better awareness and understanding of ME, it certainly succeeds on that count too. I doesn't pretend to be a scientific text or self-help book, but I certainly learned a lot from reading it - and that's always a good thing.
Review by Alison Ashford
It allows us to share central aspects of Helen`s life as she struggles with the devastating impact of ME in the face of ignorance and scepticism promoted by the media and health professionals.
The State of ME contains a powerful message for those in the medical professional still intent in potraying ME as a psychosamatic illness, and also gives a voice to those of us who have suffered from the illness.
The State of ME is sensuous, witty, heartbreaking and intelligent, and a brilliant accomplishment for any writer ....particularly one that has struggled with ME for years.