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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars

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on 4 September 2013
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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on 22 August 2017
Tells the story of a man with Churg Strasse an illness that can affect any part of the body.
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on 19 April 2010
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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on 21 July 2003
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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on 19 August 2005
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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on 4 October 2011
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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on 9 December 2010
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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on 29 April 2012
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.

Interspersed amongst the visceral detail, Watt lightens the tone by hilariously depicting the absurdity of hospital life recalling: bizarre conversations, incidents, patients and doctors and nurses - familiar to any one who has had an extended stay in hospital.Although I was never a fan of his music,it must be said Watt writes with a lyrical and poetic style, particularly in the description of his drug induced dreams and reveries.His use of geographical or geological metaphors also suggests the university study of geography or geology.
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on 26 April 2014
Very well written, quite harrowing account of surviving a terrible and very scary illness. Highly recommended read. I have recommended to friends.
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on 23 May 2013
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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