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BookBrowse Reviews All In My Head by Paula Kamen

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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
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2005, 351 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2006, 320 pages

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One woman's quest to cure her headaches

From the book jacket: At the age of twenty-four, journalist Paula Kamen's life changed in an instant. While putting in her contact lenses, the left lens set off a chain reaction, igniting a constellation of nerves that radiated backwards from behind the surface of her eye. The pain was more piercing than with any other headache she had experienced. More than a decade later, she still has a headache--the exact same headache.

All in My Head chronicles the sometimes frightening, usually absurd, and always ineffective remedies she--and so many like her--was willing to try to relieve her pain. Beleaguered and frustrated by doctors who, frustrated themselves, periodically declared her pain psychosomatic, Kamen came to understand the plight of the millions who suffer chronic pain in its many forms.

Comment: I don't usually decide to run a book while standing in line at the post office but this was pretty much what happened with All In My Head. The line was long and I was at the back of it, waiting to mail prizes to Wordplay winners. So I'd picked up my mail and was opening various packages as I stood there, making a pile of books on the table beside me. A woman ahead of me noticed All In My Head, read the cover and said, 'that sounds like me'. There's no such thing as a private conversation in the post office and within moments a few others had joined in offering their comments on friends, relatives or themselves, who suffered chronic headaches and felt like they were the only ones to feel that way. It was as much as I could do to get out of there still in possession of the book - but I did, and read it over the next few days and agree with the comments below:

"Kamen's irreverent sense of humor about her pain and herself makes the book a delight to read as she unabashedly pokes fun at the corporate pharmaceutical industry (even while she hopes for a test-tube cure), doctors and other caregivers." -- Publishers Weekly

"Gripping...Kamen takes us inside the world of chronic pain and shows us how the constant disbelief and distrust she encountered were almost as bad as the pain itself...a necessary book." -- Chicago Tribune.

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in March 2005, and has been updated for the April 2006 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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