Codeine Diary: A Memoir

Overview

This memoir of hemophilia is intensely personal and impressionistic, shifting back and forth in time between the author's recovery from a bleed episode in 1989 and accounts of his childhood. Among the issues he deals with are his guilt for having survived both his brother, who died of kidney disease in 1980, and the nine out of ten hemophiliaces who've been stricken by HIV and AIDS. The author is an award-winning poet, and his prose here is lyrical and highly original, approaching issues of illness and family in ...

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Overview

This memoir of hemophilia is intensely personal and impressionistic, shifting back and forth in time between the author's recovery from a bleed episode in 1989 and accounts of his childhood. Among the issues he deals with are his guilt for having survived both his brother, who died of kidney disease in 1980, and the nine out of ten hemophiliaces who've been stricken by HIV and AIDS. The author is an award-winning poet, and his prose here is lyrical and highly original, approaching issues of illness and family in fresh and deeply affecting ways. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
At times discursive, Andrews's memoir covers his traumas and triumphs as a poet, teacher, motorcycle racerand hemophiliac. The triumphs include establishing a mark in the Guinness Book of World Records for continuous clapping 14 hours, 31 minutes as an 11-year-old and living a full life by "outwitting" his disease. Andrews relates the trauma of various bleeding episodes and the death of an older brother from kidney disease, an event that, according to Andrews, haunts him even more than his own affliction. The book is most involving when explaining the horrors of hemophilia: Andrews Hymning the Kanawha reports that 90% of hemophiliacs who received regular blood infusions between 1978 and early 1985 carry HIV he has remained negative to date. His explanations of the dangers and treatments of "bleeds" are thorough and engrossing, but the narrative loses momentum in sections in which random humor is attempted or trivial conversations are reconstructed. Andrews is adept at expressive phrases and insightful observations, but his effectiveness is sometimes undermined by a lack of focus. Feb.
Library Journal
Hemophiliac and Guinness record breaker for hand clapping, Andrews has written a memoir of what it was like growing up as the "healthy" child in the family because of his brother's struggle with an ultimately fatal kidney disease. While recovering from a serious bleed and taking codeine to relieve the pain, Andrews, now a professor at Purdue University and an award-winning poet, began writing a diary that evolved into this memoir, thus the title. He stirs the reader's emotions as he bares his own. However, his rather disjointed mix of humor, pain, and poetic images is not as compelling an account of a journey through illness as Reynolds Price's A Whole New Life LJ 3/1/94, which Andrews quotes. Neither does it give full insight into hemophilia, as does Elaine DePrince's Cry Bloody Murder LJ 7/97. Recommended only for large public libraries.Dixie Jones, Louisiana State Univ. Medical Ctr. Lib., Shreveport
Booknews
This memoir of hemophilia is intensely personal and impressionistic, shifting back and forth in time between the author's recovery from a bleed episode in 1989 and accounts of his childhood. Among the issues he deals with are his guilt for having survived both his brother, who died of kidney disease in 1980, and the nine out of ten hemophiliaces who've been stricken by HIV and AIDS. The author is an award-winning poet, and his prose here is lyrical and highly original, approaching issues of illness and family in fresh and deeply affecting ways. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316042444
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 7/7/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.87 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2003

    Truly an inspiring book.

    As a former student of Tom Andrews, I can honestly tell you that he is a warm and charming person, who has an excellent talent for writing. I read Codeine Diary a couple of years after graduating from college. I remembered Tom mentioning it in one of his classes, and decided to pick it up. It's an inspiring novel about not letting one's diagnosis run one's life. Great work Tom!

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