Friday, August 1, 2008

Cheating Destiny

This book, by James Hirsch, is a book about diabetes. It's partly a history of the disease and its key players and discoveries, and also partly a personal memoir, since Mr. Hirsh, and his brother, and his son, are all Type I diabetics.

It was fascinating, but also disturbing. In the end, I'm glad I read it but I had a hard time not finding it extremely pessimistic. There is a lot of darkness in this book, people, just be prepared for that.

And just for one example that I find disheartening: he has a chapter about learning from survivors, from those diabetics who've had long healthy lives, and he concludes that you should take credit for the good days and blame the disease for the bad days and just keep on truckin'. Then, after only a few more pages, he tells a story about a time his son had low blood sugar and about how it was all his (the author's) fault. HELLO!

Lots of stuff about how all diabetics have high blood pressure, all diabetics have heart disease, all diabetics yada yada yada. Excuse me? Not this diabetic. (And yes, I know he means eventually. Still, it's just not true. And it seems very pessimistic and not right to me.)

So it bothered me in that way. But it was very well-written, stylistically, and gripping, and interesting, and contained a lot of information about this disease. For example, did you know that diabetic fathers are much more likely to have diabetic children than diabetic mothers are?

Me either.

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