Sick Girl

Sick Girl

by Amy Silverstein
3.4 12


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Sick Girl by Amy Silverstein

The hardcover publication of Sick Girl garnered tremendous attention, generated impressive sales, and ignited controversy. Both inspiring and provocative, reactions to the book ranged from inflammatory posts on a U.S. News & World Report blog, to hundreds of letters from readers, to a full-page review in People. Amy’s force, candor, and her refusal to be the thankful patient from whom we expect undiluted gratitude for the medical treatments that have extended her life, have put her at the center of a debate on patient rights and the omnipotent power of doctors.  At twenty-four, Amy was a typical type-A law student: smart, driven, and highly competitive. With a full course load and a budding romance, it seemed nothing could slow her down. Until her heart began to fail. Amy chronicles her harrowing medical journey from the first misdiagnosis to her astonishing recovery, which is made all the more dramatic by the romantic bedside courtship with her future husband, and her uncompromising desire to become a mother.  In her remarkable book she presents a patient’s perspective with shocking honesty that allows the reader to live her nightmare from the inside—an unforgettable experience that is both disturbing and utterly compelling.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802143877
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 10/01/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 326,247
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Despite a ten-year prognosis, AMY SILVERSTEIN’s new heart has been beating strong for over twenty years. She is on the Board of Directors of UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) and lives with her husband and son in New York.

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Sick Girl 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
MHFever More than 1 year ago
It's not often that I enjoy a book so much that I feel compelled to write a review. "Sick Girl", however, is an exception. I can't put my finger on exactly why, but once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down. I stumbled across it while browsing in Barnes & Noble. Intrigued by the title and cover art, I picked it up and started reading it right there in the aisle. By the time I got to chapter 3, still standing in the memoir section, I'd decided to buy it even though I was already in the middle of two other novels. It only got better once I got home and continued reading. I am astounded by the reviews from other readers calling Amy whiny, self absorbed, bratty, etc. Apparently none of these reviewers have ever dealt with a life altering illness or the burden of other peoples' expectations that all will be fine once you're "better." As someone who battled a terrifying and life threatening illness at an age even younger than Amy Silverstein (9 years old to be exact), I know what it's like to feel like your youth has been stolen. I know what it's like to put on a happy face for family and friends who think everything is okay when inside it feels like you're still dying. I was going to recommend this book to any book lover. But perhaps that is a misguided idea. If you are going to judge the author and every meltdown she has, you'll get nothing out of this book. But anyone willing to read "Sick Girl" with an open mind and heart will surely enjoy it as much as I did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book definately opened my eyes to the truths behind congestive heart failure. I have known many people who have had and died from this disease and had no idea what they went through. From the hospital stays to the dangereous infections that seem so minor to healthy people. I have the utmost respect for those who have to go through this!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dawn_L More than 1 year ago
Amy does a very good job taking you through the steps along the way to transplant and all the emotions accompanying each step. As I read her story, I was amazed at how closely it detailed my own story, nearly 20 years later. I am also a young woman of Jewish decent with the identical congenital heart defect that was also exacerbated by a virus that evenutally led to my need for a heart transplant. But Amy was 25 in 1988 when she had hers, and I was 35 when I got sick in 2003. Ironically, I was also just about to start law school as well. Given the similarity in our backgrounds, the story really touched me in a deeply personal way. I understood every step of her struggle, recognized the authentic emotions she channeled onto the pages. Even her despair was palpable to me. Really, the only thing close to a complaint that I might have is how she defines each medical procedure as a "trauma" or "violation" of herself. Each of these procedures is necessary to be a successful transplant recipient, and Amy is the definition of that success with 22 years of survival already. I should be so lucky. I recommend this book to anyone whose loved one has undergone any transplant, but especially a heart transplant. It exposes that inner pain and anxiety that we all try to hide behind the "everything is okay" smile. It addresses the issue of having an "expiration date" that you can't find on your carton but you know it's there and someday it's going to get you. I also recommend this to anyone in the business of caring for transplant patients - nurses, doctors and coordinators. There are a 1,001 books devoted to the caring for the body. This one addresses the soul. Good Luck Amy! In another 20 years, I want to see a book about your experiences as a grandma!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
nothinglikeagoodbook More than 1 year ago
Forget everything you thought you knew about heart transplants..... Amy Silverstein's personal journey through heart disease, heart transplant and "recovery" is a tough but very worthwhile memoir that compels the reader to experience the day-in-day-out relentless fight for survival of the heart transplant patient. Just when you feel so weary of her daily routine to continue living that you want to put the book down, you consider the tenacity of this woman who never gets to take a break from it. It's an insiders look at doctors who don't have all the answers and don't always honestly give information when they do, of health care workers who get jaded by routine, and friends and family who struggle with being supportive over time with someone who will never get a break from her struggle. Yes, it's a hard story ~ but when Amy finds her voice, you're glad you are there.
PipRo More than 1 year ago
The cover of "Sick Girl" grabs you. Not only does it appear to be a compelling, inspirationl, and touching story of a medical nightmare, but you truly feel that after reading it, you'll be grateful for your own health. But no - not even close! I finished sick girl, but with dread. The begining of the book paints a portrait of a girl raised to not deal with conflict, to keep emotions buried, to avoid conflict and completely ignoer any kind of communication whatsoever. Because she is raised like this, she becomes a complete brat after her diagnosis. The book is an entire pity party, nothing but her complaining and throwing monster sized temper tantrums about every little detail. The amazing thing is that she continues to receive support and love by those around her, but she completely ignores it. How her husband managed to stay with her is beyond me - I can say quite certainly that had I seen the nasty side of my husband, he would have been in serious therapy if he wanted out marriage to continue onward.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read the comments...I have read the book...I AM the mother of a child who is over 11 years post-heart transplant. Ms. Silverstein offers a realistic journey into OUR lives. I couldn't put the book down till I was finished reading it completely. I cried, I grieved, and then I knew that IF my child was ever in need of a second transplant - well, it would be very selfish of us to ask that she go forward unless SHE wanted to - pity, I think not, ungrateful - never. It amazes me how little "others" really understand the complexities that come with transplantation and the importance of understanding the dynamics of immunosuppression when related to other fields of medicine. It surprises me that there is very little clinical support in place for transplant recipients AFTER they are given this wonderful gift of life. "Off you go!" "Live!" I wonder how many are aware that many additional second transplants might have been avoided IF there was clinical support regularly in place say with annual studies? But few transplant centers have "real" clinical support in place because the funds are not available. Let's not pass judgement on something we don't live with - even if we are academically knowlegable - until you experience it AND live it. Thank you Ms. Silverstein - I was thankful to connect through your experiences - PTLD is a word we never want to hear...And I have passed your book to as many as I can so they might have a tiny glimpse into our world - real.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As as a healthcare professional, I have had many opportunities to work with chronically ill patients including post transplant patients & immunocompromised patients. I have never come across a more self-absorbed, childish, ungrateful, whining, self-pitying person. I found the details of her experiences to be far-fetched & exaggerated. Perhaps she could not recognize the empathy of those around her. She failed to realize the things in her life for which to be grateful. The pity I feel is more for her husband & her dedicated healthcare providers who put up with her ridiculous attitude! Perhaps she should consider if she had not have been fortunate to have received a healthy heart - many a patient would have traded places with her in a heartbeat.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't imagine living through and living with what this strong beautiful woman endures. At the same time this book will keep you on the edge of your seat like a horror movie!
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a sad story. Given her background, Amy was ill-equipped to deal with difficulty- never mind sudden illness and the challenges that follow a transplant. As an example of her family dynamics, Amy expresses her fear and anger after finding out about her terminal illness- and her father promptly stops the cab and leaves! I guess sharing and communication is just not a strength in her click. Toward the end of the book, Amy is shocked to find out 17 YEARS LATER that her husband was actually afraid while she was going through the surgery and recovery. Duh! It seems that she could not stop thinking about herself for long enough to figure that one out. Unfortunately, I would also have to agree with the other reviewer that called this a 'pity party.' Amy throws several tantrums and even THREATENS SUICIDE because she cannot bear taking her medicines any longer. It turns out, she is on meds that are three generations old and- when offered the chance to change over to new, more effective drugs with less side effects, she declines. I can only conclude that she enjoys being miserable. I, too, got sick of hearing it. When I heard about this book, I thought it would be powerful- living 19 years after a heart transplant with a husband and a child has to be an uplifting story of great courage and hope, right? I was wrong. Unfortunately, this poor woman is emotionally stunted and chooses to spend her life feeling sorry for herself, torturing others and belaboring what she lost. Most of the time I was reading the book, I just felt angry. I can only hope for Amy that something in her future life's path will help her see the joy in living and all the opportunities for personal growth that come with illness 'IF you choose to acknowledge them'. If someone is interested in learning about the negatives related to illness or transplant, this may be a good read. If someone is seaking a mentor/guide through the mental and emotional challenges of illness, I would highly recommend the book 'Sick Girl Speaks' by Tiffany Christensen. I think Tiffany's book 'Sick Girl Speaks' provides a great, constructive and hopeful model for patients, family members and medical professionals alike.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's one big pity party, and I for one wish I had not attended. Don't waste your time or effort on this book. It is nothing more than a few hundred pages of whining and complaining by a very spoiled person who is overwhelmingly negative and angry.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Her true story is honest, amazing,frightening,sad, triumphant, and courageous. Her writing is simply beautiful.