This is a personal review of the book Heal Me: In Search of a Cure by Julia Buckley. “A brutally honest, darkly funny and profoundly moving memoir about the author’s global search for a cure to chronic pain.”
About the book:
This is the official description of Heal Me: In Search of a Cure
“Julia Buckley needs a miracle. Like a third of the UK population, she has a chronic pain condition. According to her doctors, it can’t be cured. She doesn’t believe them. She does believe in miracles, though. It’s just a question of tracking one down.
Julia’s search for a cure takes her on a global quest, exploring the boundaries between science, psychology and faith with practitioners on the fringes of conventional, traditional and alternative medicine. From neuroplastic brain rewiring in San Francisco to medical marijuana in Colorado, Haitian vodou rituals to Brazilian ‘spiritual surgery’, she’s willing to try anything. Can miracles happen? And more importantly, what happens next if they do?
Raising vital questions about the modern medical system, this is also a story about identity in a system historically skewed against ‘hysterical’ female patients, and the struggle to retain a sense of self under the medical gaze. Heal Me explains why modern medicine’s current approach to chronic pain is failing patients. It explores the importance of faith, hope and cynicism, and examines our relationships with our doctors, our beliefs and ourselves.”
“My Review of Heal Me by Julia Buckley”
In the afterword of this book, you learn that the manuscript was edited down generously. It made me half disappointed and half excited in the hope there might be more coming.
Heal Me by Julia Buckley is a book you read and delight in like
your favorite gem on Netflix. I’ve rarely seen a non-fictional book so addictive and exciting.
Julia delivers an intelligent, researched and unique memoir where she tells her search for a cure for the chronic pain which has ‘ended’ her life.
A young, talented journalist with a promising career ahead of her, she suddenly sees her life paralyzed by constant and unbearable pain. Off work and after the conventional health care system failed her, she decides to go on a world quest for the person who would heal her. She tries everything she can: acupuncture, vaudou, traditional South African or Indonesian healing; you name it.
Her writing is so visual and compelling, humane and honest that you cannot prevent yourself from feeling close to Julia.
You laugh, you cry, you swear. You surprise yourself for wanting to reprobate her after she has tried this dangerous ceremony that everyone advised her against.
You learn a lot with her about things, places you thought you knew about. You learn to put words on these weird feelings you had, at times, when visiting a doctor.
At the end, her victory is your victory because she feels like a friend and a lot like yourself, too
I am deeply grateful to Julia for the work she has done with Heal Me.
By giving a face and a voice – and what a voice – to a chronic pain sufferer – she made all of us who had or still have to hear ‘this is not a question of life or death’, ‘you don’t look bad to me’, better off.
By making this book so compelling, fun and rich, she made the message that each of us aches to tell the world easier to hear, process and understand by the people who are lucky enough not to have an idea of what living with constant pain might mean.
People living with chronic pain like Julia and I do, won’t be surprised by who and what ended up bringing Julia her life back, nor will they be by many of the mental and emotional, even social states she finds herself in on the way to rebirth.
This is what makes Heal Me all so special and, I’d argue, important.
Far from being a gimmick, it is an actual journey through the stages that people living with a condition than no one sees and seems to understand have to go through, alone.
Julia had to spend 4 years and countless miles to find her cure, but her book might be what makes you feel better or become this person who shows more compassion next time you hear a similar story.
For this, for the fantastic story and the vulnerability, Heal Me is a book you won’t forget.
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