To the book that gave me a 7 in speaking in my IELTS test:
a book review on The Life You Longed For by Maribeth Fischer
Grace Connolly's son, three year-old Jack is fighting a rare and deadly disease that very few medical studies have touched. It is in Grace's persistence that a diagnosis of mitochondrial disease was made on Jack: a group of disorders caused by dysfunctional mitochondria, the part of the cell that generates energy. At his age, Jack has been on oxygen support 24/7, has undergone complex procedures, in numerous medications, and Grace has never left her son's side. She pondered on medical journals to find cure, inquired every diagnosis, so as to make sure she has asked every possible question that might buy him more time.
In the story, Grace, the 'saint' was accused of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy and filed to the government's Child Protection Services. The allegation is a psychopathic situation wherein mothers made their children sick on purpose -- like inject urine in their IV lines, give them ipecac to induce vomiting, smothered them in pillows then rushed hysterically to the hospital, sobbing for help -- all to ploy attention.
Munchausen mothers doctor-shop, are friends with the hospital staff, and are knowledgeable in the medical field: Grace fits this profile. Never though, in her life can she imagine hurting her child. Whoever made that accusation must have misunderstood, and that misunderstanding might mean her son, or all three of her children, will be taken away from her. At Jack's condition, he has very little time left and being away from his mother is just unthinkable.
If there is one thing that Grace is guilty of, it is not hurting her child, but cheating on her husband. She is having an affair with her high school boyfriend whom she found after 20 years. She is at her happiest when she's with Noah, and she is willing to end it with him just for her to keep her children.
It's amazing how this story is intelligently written. Five years of research and hard work has really done good in this book: every character was made credible. I was in awe with all the details. People in the medical profession must get hold of this book as this is like seeing through the eyes of our patients and feeling their pain and triumphs.
My only comment is that the story included topics like the Salem witch trials and the September 11 attack which I believe is not necessary. The plot alone is interesting enough, I felt sleepy upon reaching the said chapters.
For me, Grace must have sinned, but the affair did not make her less the awesome mother she is.
A great read especially now that we are nearing Mother's Day.