Viqui G. (State College, PA)
Mercies in Disguise
Genetic diseases are very chilling since there is no medication or antibiotic to "cure" them. This book was a fascinating true story of a family unknowingly affected by a genetic neurological disorder that we learn later in the book is GSS (Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker) disease. The author, Gina Kolata did a great job of explaining the difficult background research that helped scientists figure out the cause of these neurological diseases. She also introduced to the reader the concept that prion abnormalities in a parent could then be transferred to children of those affected parents. But Kolata humanized the research and medicine by telling us about the Baxter family and their agonizing struggle with their emerging knowledge about the disease that was ravaging some of their members. Kolata's writing is informative but also full of compassion.
This book was excellent and very readable. I heartily recommend it to anyone, especially to anyone who is interested in medicine or science.
Janice C. (Hayward, CA)
Mercies In Disquise
Loved Henrietta Lacks. Loved Mercies In Disguise. Left me with the question ... what would I do?
Joan B. (Ellicott City, MD)
Mercies in Disguise
Gina Kolata successfully links scientific research with family challenges. I was particularly interested in genetic links to specific diseases.since I have lost two siblings to different forms of cancer. I am faced with the same illness in a different form. The greatest parallel between the Baxters and my family is the heartache of health decision making. The process of making life altering decisions is dramatically difficult. I was releived to read that opposing ideas were revealed.
The story read like fiction and gave me a banquet of food for thought.
Beverly J. (Hoover, AL)
Once I started reading this profoundly compelling book I could not put the book down. Kudos to the author's writing skill to effectively write an intimate story about a family's search to find the truth balanced against the medical/scientific communities diligence and passion to leave no stone unturned. Keep a box of tissues handy this book will touch your heart, mind and spirit.
Tracy N. (Mill Valley, CA)
Blessings from Tragedy
In life there can be many trials and tribulations. Mercies in Disguise by Gina Kolata delivers this message in her new medical thriller. It reminds me of a song called "Blessings" by Laura Story that highlights the theme of this story that there are "mercies in disguise". Mercies are blessings or gifts that come from despair, suffering, and hardship. We can be positively changed by our tragedies This true story focuses on one extended family that seeks to understand what their degenerative disease of the central nervous system is and partners with medical science to define and research this protein gene abnormality. The Baxley family is a Christian family in South Carolina who are tested in love, faith and determination to persevere in the face of a terrible genetic disease. When finally there is a diagnosis, the next question is: do you get tested to find out if you carry the debilitating brain disease that killed your father, aunt, uncles, grandfather and possibly you? It is a suspenseful tale as it transcends countries, time and many different people who are all committed to solving this tragic medical dilemma.
Rory A. (Henderson, NV)
An expertly-crafted, deeply affecting, empathetic, evenhanded, science-driven and family-driven masterwork that should be on the shortlist for the Pulitzer Prize. It will almost certainly make one clamor for even more books by Gina Kolata, and more books just like it, elevating the importance of science to all aspects of our lives, and how it can also save our lives, or at least give us hope where there once was none.
Lynne B. (Exeter, NH)
Facing the Fight of Your Life Against Genetic Destiny
This book is an absolutely fascinating story of a family that struggles to discover what is happening to them when they realize that each generation has faced a dreadful neurological disease that defies diagnosis. The symptoms are a combination of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's and every specialist diagnoses with Alzheimer's or has no idea. There is nothing they can offer for treatment. Finally the youngest generation, in Amanda Baxley, seeks to discover the truth about her own status and must make life-changing decisions based on the results. Ms. Kolkata also presents the research being done on this and other rare genetic mutations that cause neurological diseases. The book reads like a fast-paced mystery where you are entirely immersed in the family and their search for help. The reader can't help but develop a special empathy for Amanda as she tries to lead her life in a proud and fulfilling way in the hopes that she is providing a future for those who face these diseases.