We bought this and 'Diabetes for Dummies' when my husband was diagnosed with Type 2. Between the pair of them, these books have been utterly invaluable in educating us about how to cope with the condition, and how reduce the damage caused by diabetes.
From near hospitalisation at his diagnosis, following the medical advice and leaning heavily on Gretchen's understandings and knowledge, my husband has reduced and kept his BG levels under control. His level of risk has dropped dramatically, and he's now been off medication for over five years. So it works - long term. Gretchen's approach is to give you bites of information in chunks that you can absorb and understand -- a little on each area to start with, becoming more in depth as you become familiar with the terms and how your condition affects you. It's a very different approach to the textbook style, and it means you don't get overloaded with technical info too early on. She's very good at giving real life examples, and it helps to know that the author herself has written the book from her own personal experience. Many doctors and nurses have theoretical knowledge -- but Gretchen's viewpoint is from a fellow diabetic, and it is very insightful. Where you may find it tricky is that you can feel a bit lectured now and then. There's also quite a lot of time spent discussing depression, foods you can't eat, and so on -- this may be helpful for you but for us it was overkill at times! (Does anyone really test 20 times a day, or get up at 2am to test?!)
Overall, however, The First Year gave us masses of information and plenty of encouragement. It dismisses many myths and expensive options which are dead-ends, and targetted our efforts towards diet, exercise and understanding. If you've just been diagnosed then this is a must-have for your shelf.
It falls just short of the five-star category -- there are sections which you won't find useful or which may actually discourage you! -- but it is generally easy to read, written by a real person and applicable to real people. A diagnosis is only a beginning, and this book will certainly help you with the journey... 8/10