Sunday, August 8, 2010

Wretched (this is my sorry) by Katherine Marple

As a woman who has my own disability, I could relate to the heroine of this book. She suffers type 1 diabetes. She is young and tired of fighting her disease. This is a disease that can take over your life. It's not a simple matter of changing your diet. (Note, there are different kinds of diabetes. The kind the heroine has is not talked about in infocommericals. The more common diabetes is type 2.)

The heroine has been dating Shane for three years when he breaks up with her. He is tired of wondering if he is going to wake up next to a dead girlfriend in the morning. Here is an excerpt of what this disease is like from Shane's POV:

"You were kicking really hard, so when I turned over to wake you up, you were ice cold. You felt like you were dead. All of your muscles tightened up, your arms pressed hard against your chest. I tried to move your legs, because they looked so distorted, but I couldn't fight against the strength of your strained muscles. You were biting your tongue hard and your eyes rolled back into your head."

No wonder Shane freaks out. On one hand, what Shane does make sense. He wants the heroine to start taking care of herself. He can't do it for her. She must care for herself before anyone else will care for her. The problem is she has grown resigned to her fate, aware that she won't live a long and full life and as a result, isn't really living it. As Shane begins to step out of the picture, she begins to grow close to Drew, a man at work.

The book is a short but sad read and meaningful. The heroine not only deals with man problems but also tries to quit smoking, write a book, struggles with new medications, has issues with her estranged mother, and even gets a pump. She is afraid to go to sleep for fear she won't wake up. And top all that off with kidney disease.

Can she get it together and live her life despite her illness? Can she keep her illness in check? Can she live life without Shane? Is Drew going to be a part of the long term picture or is she going to learn to live life for HERSELF, not for any man?

The first person narrative is very real and honest. I almost gave this a four star tho because the heroine (no name is another minor irritant) is irritating at times with her indecisiveness. One minute she will push Shane away and say, "I'm not ready," three hours later, they are having sex. However, the ending blew me away. I wasn't expecting it and I had to struggle not to cry. The ending brought the book back up to a 5 star rating.

Funny quote: "...who ever can read a man should get some kind of trophy. They're more difficult to understand than a PMSing woman."

I received this book from the author who was brave enough to send it in exchange for an honest review. I'm very glad I read it.

Before reading this book, I knew very little about type 1 diabetes. I do have an online friend who suffers from this disease but until now, I never understood exactly what she goes thru. Thus, I want to use this post to make others aware.

Type 1 diabetes affects more than 2 million people in the United States. There is no cure and sufferers must take multiple injections per day in order to sustain life.

About Type 1 diabetes:

Definition: a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy.

Symptoms: Extreme thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, fatigue, blurred vision, weight loss.

Complications: Heart and blood vessel disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, eye damage, food damage, skin and mouth conditions, Osteoporosis, pregnancy complications and hearing problems.

Treatment for type 1 diabetes is a lifelong commitment to:
Taking insulin
Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight
Eating healthy foods
Monitoring blood sugar

Signs symptoms of low blood sugar:
Sweating Shakiness Hunger Weakness Anxiety Dizziness or lightheadedness Pale skin Rapid or irregular heart rate Fatigue Headaches Blurred vision Irritability

Also, if more advanced:
Behavior changes, sometimes dramatic
Poor coordination
For more information and how YOU can help friends and loved ones or others with type 1 diabetes, check out this website:

1 comment:

  1. My friend, Chrissie over on goodreads has type 1 diabetes and wanted to share some of her thoughts: "You know there is another two elements that could be added: one being that most diabetics feel terrible guilt b/c no matter how hard you try you can never balance the sugar, exercise and insulin correctly. It always feels that you fail. And secondly the need to plan every, I mean every dam minute of your day. Every single minute. If you don't you pay for it later. I do not think you are aware of this when you first get diabetes type 1, but the longer you have it the clearer it becomes that lack of balance causes harm. You physically feel it in your body and see it as things stop functioning correctly. Does the protagonist loose her hearing? It is hard to live with a diabetic. Emotionally they are really screwed up when the blood glucose value are either too high or too low. You know sometimes I write here on GR and when I read what I have written when my bg was too low I get embarrassed. It is not that what I have said is incorrect, but more that I get so emotionally involved. I wish I had said it with more distance. Diabetes does change your personality. In many, many ways. It molds you. Your emotions do not go back to square one once you get your blood glucose back to the right level."

    About feelings of guilt, Chrissie says, "ALL diabetics feel guilty. It doesn't matter if it is not our fault. It is not fun always causing such a pain to other people's lives, and sooner or later those near us get annoyed. This is completely understandable. We are a pain to live with. That is the truth, there is no getting around it. I am not griping. I am just saying the way it is. It is something that has to be accepted."

    My thanks to Chrissie for sharing that. She was unable to post a comment here so I did it for her.