The Good, The Bad and The Critic

Established on March 19th, 2012 and pioneered by film fanatic Michael J. Carlisle. The Good, The Bad and The Critic will analyze classic and contemporary films from all corners of the globe. This title references Sergei Leone's influential spaghetti western The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Super Sick: Making Peace With Chronic Illness- Book Review

Title: Super Sick
Year: 2020
Author: Allison Alexander
Publisher: Mythos & Ink

While I don't have a chronic illness, I do have a congenital heart condition (Transposition of the Great Arteries) that comes with many barriers & thus many topics in Super Sick: Making Peace with Chronic Illness, such as dealing with chronic fatigue, really speak to me. I have to thank Michael W. Boyce (Academic Dean of Booth University College) for introducing me to Allison Alexander's fascinating work.

Allison Alexander, who has struggled with a chronic illness since she was a child, wants to see herself in her heroes and searches for examples of sick characters in pop culture. Super Sick is an attempt to make peace with her illness despite a culture that suggests she’s worthless unless she’s healed.

Though I'm not quite up to date with certain pop culture (I've never played Final Fantasy) , Allison's use of exploring characters in relation to chronic illness, setting up each chapter in preparation to dive deely into seemingly taboo territory, proves quite effective. Most readers would not have made such a connection prior (such as using Dr.Who as a platform to being communicative about the ability to have children) and thus Super Sick proves both engaging and informative. 

Sincere, personal, and, at times, funny (I found myself laughing when Allison describes the side-affects of medication to treat nausea "this is all from just one drug") Super Sick helped me be more empathetic to those with chronic illness, while also be forgiving with myself. Her early example of Dr.Strange's anger when he finds himself useless really resonated with me, as there are days when I'm horribly fatigued yet haven't accomplished much. Allison reminds the reader not to wallow in self-pity, but to find your own way to be empowered.

The only barrier to this material might be the pop culture references. I don't know if my grandmother would be excited over reading about Fire Emblem or My Hero Academia. Heck, I barely know what My Hero Academia is and I'm the right age demographic. This is a trivial critique compared to the overall quality of the book. Still, diverse eras of pop culture references (The Honeymooners in relation to fatigue?) might bring in a larger age range of readers. 

Allison leaves no stone unturned, as even seemingly "controversial" (normies don't like us to talk about it publicly) subjects like bowel movements are addressed in an insightful, creative, and respectful manner. She also gives a unique female perspective to some of these issues, which was an eye opener for me as the majority of disability literature is male focused. Super Sick is a great read that I will certainly recommend. 

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