Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood by Julie Gregory
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the story of a young woman whose mother constantly took her to doctors or hospitals. The mother suffered from Munchausen's by Proxy whereby a person, usually the mother attempts to make herself feel important and validated by causing illness in her child and then working with the doctors to try to correct what is wrong. Julie Gregory was taken to doctors constantly as a child, sometimes for real illnesses, but more often by induced by her mother. She was frequently starved and was denied treatment when her wrist was broken until it was almost too late. She frequently missed school and when she was there, she was often too sick or tired from being in the emergency room all night to learn.
As Julie grew up, she began to rebel against her mother's treatment, but she could find no help in her family. Her father was ineffectual and often just didn't care to go up against his wife even though he knew what was happening to Julie. Eventually, her mother brought in elderly boarders and foster children and when Julie wasn't available she began to shift her attention to the foster children. It was at this point, and after her mother burned down the house for insurance money that Julie was successful in finding someone to believe her.
This is a terrible disease, but Julie provides enough background for the reader to understand her mother's family and the terrible life her mother had growing up. In fact, the disfunctional family seems to go back for generations. While this book is sometimes hard to read, it is important to know that these situations exist and that children need to be listened to.
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