Announcing our Top 20 Books of 2022

Excerpt from All In My Head by Paula Kamen, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

All In My Head

An Epic Quest to Cure an Unrelenting, Totally Unreasonable, and Only Slightly Enlightening Headache

by Paula Kamen

All In My Head by Paula Kamen X
All In My Head by Paula Kamen
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2005, 351 pages

    Paperback:
    Apr 2006, 320 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Younger women feel less shame in "coming out" about a whole range of medical problems. Starting out life with a higher status in society than our mothers, and not feeling as obligated to "prove ourselves" as equals to men, we are more willing to discuss "weaknesses." For a generation that has come of age with women speaking out about sexual abuse and assault, sexual preference, and (previously stigmatized) breast cancer, speaking out about chronic pain seems only natural.

Politically speaking, we are also more secure than past generations to discuss these issues because of less of a risk of damaging the women's movement. In the 1970s, the women's health movement mainly focused on women's physical strengths, at a time when they had to prove them as "equals" to men, such as with promoting women's sports and stressing the "truth" of the women's bodies (when doctors were treating natural experiences like menopause and childbirth as "diseases" needing heavy medication and dangerous procedures).

In the past several years, we have seen this beginning trickle of women "coming out" about stigmatized invisible health issues of all kinds:

    • Jane Pauley discussing her bipolar disorder in a new book.
    • Susanna Kaysen (author of Girl, Interrupted) talking about vaginal pain in the memoir, The Camera My Mother Gave Me.
    • Celebrities such as Cybill Shepherd talking about irritable bowel syndrome.
    • Memoirists on depression, such as Elizabeth Wurtzel's Prozac Nation.
    • Laura Hillenbrand, bestsellling author of Seabiscuit, coming out in a New Yorker essay with chronic fatigue syndrome, only officially classified as a disease since 1988.

A New Activist Movement (Depression's Stepchild) (chapter 22)
Reflecting a general social movement to begin to address such problems, Congress has declared 2000-2010 "The Decade of Pain Control and Awareness." This enhanced social focus on chronic pain follows a general period of growing awareness on a related issue: depression. Like with depression in the 1990s, campaigns are now beginning to take hold that portray the problem as a neurological illness, and not as a moral failing or metaphor for a psychological conflict.

The source list at the end of the book includes a growing number of pain-advocacy groups. Some of the leading ones are the American Chronic Pain Foundation (theacpa.org) and the American Pain Foundation (painfoundation.org).

From the preface to All In My Head, pages ix - xvi. Copyright Paula Kamen 2005. All rights reserved. No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher, Da Capo Press.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    Bewilderment
    by Richard Powers
    In 2019, Richard Powers won the Pulitzer Prize for The Overstory, a sprawling novel whose characters...
  • Book Jacket: I'm the Girl
    I'm the Girl
    by Courtney Summers
    YA author Courtney Summers doesn't believe in shielding her teenage readers from the world's darkest...
  • Book Jacket: They're Going to Love You
    They're Going to Love You
    by Meg Howrey
    Teenage Carlisle lives with her mother in Ohio, but their relationship has never felt particularly ...
  • Book Jacket: The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    by Isaac Blum
    That irreplaceable feeling of everyone knowing your name. The yearning to be anonymous. Parents ...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Izquierdo
    by Rubén Degollado

    A masterful debut that weaves together the lives of three generations of a Mexican American family bound by love, and a curse.

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

W N, W Not

and be entered to win..

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Bell in the Lake
by Lars Mytting
The engrossing epic novel - a #1 bestseller in Norway - of a young woman whose fate plays out against her village's mystical church bells.
Who Said...

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people ...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.