Codeine Diary: A Memoir

Codeine Diary: A Memoir

by Tom Andrews
     
 

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

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.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316042444
Publisher:
Hachette Book Group
Publication date:
07/07/2004
Pages:
252
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.69(d)
Age Range:
13 Years

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