Monday Book Review: Med Head February 1, 2010Posted by pupfiction in Book Reviews.
Tags: books, James Patterson, OCD, Tourette's Syndrome
Med Head, as told by James Patterson and Hal Friedman, is unlike any book I have ever read in my entire life. A lover of fiction, who has recently taken a foray into the world of memoirs, I was unprepared for the story of Cory Friedman’s battle with vicious cases of Tourette’s Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) from the age of five to eighteen. I have never read any of James Patterson’s works before, but now I credit his popularity, in part, to his engaging, page-turning style of writing. This book is alternately a tear-jerking memoir, a heart-rendering story about the power of persistence and a testament to the importance of a loving family in battling these diseases.
At the age of five, Cory developed a tic – a forced compulsive movement. Because he also suffered from OCD, his body would force him to repeat these tics over and over again. The more anxious and upset he became, the worse the two diseases grew. When Cory finally came to realize this, along with his dedicated doctors, it began his path to recovery. But between the age of five, and the discovery of the way these two diseases were amplifying each other, Cory went through a hellish ordeal of trying dozens of different drugs, therapy treatments, alcohol abuse and alienation and teasing at school. For most of his life, Cory was treated like he had learning disabilities when in fact he was far brighter than most kids his age, creating numerous internet companies in his spare time, but unable to complete assignments because of his anxiety and the distraction of his tics. Cory’s loving mother, who he refers to as “his angel” is central to this story and to Cory’s life. She gave up her job and all her hobbies to help him both in his trips to doctors, as well as his struggles in school. At times, Cory is so frustrated with his inability to control his own body that he contemplates suicide. The rage that overtakes him scares even himself. But in the end, Cory’s persistence and determination lead him to recover enough to graduate high school, lose weight, get into a good college, function normally with peers, and be almost drug free.
This book is not only good for anyone who suffers from diseases that control their body, but for anyone working with other people. Although the central message of this books is about the power of persistence and belief in yourself, the underlying message throughout is to have patience, compassion, and understanding for those around us. That is why this is a must read for everyone, particularly those that work in schools.