Co-authored by James Patterson and Cory's dad Hal Friedman, this is a brutally honest look into a young life that was almost destroyed b y a complex set of neurological disorders that created a living hell for Cory and his family - especially at times when he was treated with the "best" medications. Over the years Cory was on dozens of medications and saw nearly as many doctors, taking combinations of medication that caused a range of symptoms including weight gain, fatigue, chronic pain, increased energy, increased ticking, and risk taking behaviour. This is a story that was difficult to read because of all the times the hopes and dreams of the family were dashed and Cory ended up back at zero. The glimmer of hope throughout the whole story is the obvious love and support of his family - especially his mother and his father.
This is not an easy read, and at times I was grateful for the involvement of James Patterson who has a knack for conveying intensity and emotion without using excessive amounts of text - the story is told succinctly, almost bluntly, and carries you from moment to moment alongside Cory as he experiences the pain and failure of treatment plan after treatment plan. Ultimately though this is not a story about failure or loss, it is about one family and their path from diagnosis to living day-to-day with some control and normalcy. Cory is a person you can't help but connect with through his story, and had Patterson and Friedman chosen a more traditional approach to this biography I think it would have lost a great deal of the impact - it is Cory's words that suck you in and spit you out.
At times I was crying reading Cory's story, at other times I laughed, and at other times I just didn't know what to think or feel. This is one of those stories that you will either read from cover to cover and be a better person for the reading, or it will be one of those stories that you can't read more than a few words of without putting it aside - I fell into the first category and hope others out there will give Cory and his story a chance.
Take your time with this story and pause when you need to. If you read this book and want to read other biographies from people who have lived through difficult experiences and trauma, then try:
- Etched in sand: A true story of five siblings who survived an unspeakable childhood on Long Island by Regina Calcaterra
- A child named It by Dave Pelzer
- Broken by Shy Keenan
- Damaged by Cathy Glass
- When rabbit howls by Truddi Chase
- The little prisoner: A memoir by Jane Eliott
- Sickened: The memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood by Julie Gregory
Reviewed by Brilla