In this deeply affecting memoir, Arthur W. Frank explores the events of illness from within: the transformation from person to patient, the pain, the wonder,and the ceremony of recovery. To illuminate what illness can teach us about life, Frank draws upon his own encounters with serious illness -- a heart attack at age thirty-nine and, a year later, a diagnosis of cancer. In poignant and clear prose, he offers brilliant insights into what happens when our bodies and emotions are pushed to extremes. Ultimately, he examines what it means to be human.
Within two years, Frank experienced life-threatening illness twice: a heart attack at age 39 and cancer at 40. These crises motivated him to write ``a letter to his younger self'' before he was made wiser by the experience of disease. Instead of focusing on medical details, he attempts to describe the human experience in an effort to make sense of serious illness. Writing that ``illness teaches the danger as well as the value of the everyday,'' Frank emphasizes the value of life and a return to the sense of wonder at being alive. What he has to say about caregiving complements Norman Cousins's holistic health and vis medicatrix naturae philosophy presented in his Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient ( LJ 9/1/79).-- James Swanton, Albert Einstein Coll. of Medicine, New York