Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sickened: The memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood by Julie Gregory

Julie was a sickly child who was blessed to have a loving mother who took her to doctor after doctor to try and find a cause of her heart problems so she could get the help she needed - or did she?  This is a deeply personal story, a journey through a childhood of stark contrasts - the mother that the world saw who cared for Julie and protected her, and the mother that Julie knew who told her what to tell the doctors. 

Munchausen by Proxy has a terrible impact on families, and Julie's was no exception.  She was forced to walk a dangerous line to keep her mother happy in an explosive family environment.  She had a father who was terrorised by her mother, told he was useless and a faggot until he stepped in and did what she wanted.  Her mother was always reading medical books and dragging her from doctor to doctor, telling her what to tell the doctors and setting her up for painful and invasive tests.  The other people who shared her life were equally caught up in the web of deceit and attention seeking from her mother.

This is not an easy read, not only because it is so personal, but also because there is a part of you that just doesn't want to believe that a mother (or any other parental figure) could do this to her own child.  Most of Julie's story is set in the 1980's and you can understand to a certain extent how Julie slipped through the cracks, but even today there are children who are going through the same kind of nightmare.

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:

  • Child C: Surviving a foster mothers reign of terror by Christopher Spry
  • Punished by Vanessa Steel
  • 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

Reviewed by Brilla

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