Reading guide for The Lady's Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness by Sarah Ramey

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

The Lady's Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness

by Sarah Ramey

The Lady's Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness by Sarah Ramey X
The Lady's Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness by Sarah Ramey
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2020, 432 pages

    May 2021, 432 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. WOMI (a woman with a mysterious illness) exist all around us. So do MOMIs and POMIs (a man of mysterious illness, or person of mysterious illness). The author, Sarah Ramey, explains that many people she has spoken to "either knew a woman with a mysterious illness, were married to a woman with a mysterious illness, or were themselves a woman with a mysterious illness" (pg. 18). How does this new term resonate with you? Do you identify WOMIs in your everyday life?
  2. What is it like going to the doctor as a woman, and how is that different than a man's experience? How does the book explore this topic?
  3. One of the most frustrating experiences for WOMIs is that doctors often suggest their symptoms are psychological. Why do you think this happens so frequently? Why is it more common for women, and how did this book expose that discrimination? What other kinds of discrimination have you experienced or heard about in a medical setting?
  4. This memoir is written in an untraditional format where each chapter is broken up into a series of vignettes and page breaks. Why do you think the author chose this writing style, and how do you think it helps tell her story? How would the book read differently if it were written in a more traditional way?
  5. Throughout the book, the author explores the flaws of both the traditional medical system and alternative medicine. How do both systems fail her and other WOMIs? How are these failures similar and how are they different?
  6. The author explains how New Age medicine often discourages negative emotions and how destructive this can be. What are the repercussions of this philosophy against negative thoughts? How did this affect the author's experience?
  7. What did you know about functional medicine before reading this book? How do you hope to see it integrate into our medical system in the future?
  8. The author says, "Almost all positive change begins with a negative no" (pg. 300). Can you think of an example? How did this play out in the book?
  9. How does this memoir explore themes of isolation? What did you learn about isolation and chronic illnesses that you may not have realized before reading this book?
  10. The author compares a hero's journey in literature with a heroine's journey, using examples like Harry Potter and Frodo compared to Persephone and Alice in Wonderland. How do you compare the hero and heroine's journey, their differences and similarities? If the heroine's journey is a journey inward (or a "descent"), how can we apply that to our own lives? How did the author apply it to her story?
  11. How did this book make you look at medicine differently? Are you going to change the way you approach your own health?
  12. What lessons or themes do you think the author hoped readers would take away from this book the most? What moments really resonated with you?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Anchor Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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!

Beyond the Book:
  Myasthenia Gravis

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Moth
    by Melody Razak
    On August 15, 1947, India gained independence from the United Kingdom, and on that same day the ...
  • Book Jacket: All the Lonely People
    All the Lonely People
    by Mike Gayle
    Mike Gayle's charming novel All the Lonely People introduces us to Hubert Bird, an 82-year-old ...
  • Book Jacket: Perish
    by LaToya Watkins
    It's a commonly cited fact that many perpetrators of sexual abuse, particularly men, are victims of ...
  • Book Jacket: Afterlives
    by Abdulrazak Gurnah
    Afterlives, from Nobel Prize winner Abdulrazak Gurnah, begins in late 19th century East Africa in ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Ways We Hide
by Kristina McMorris
From the bestselling author of Sold On A Monday, a sweeping tale of an illusionist recruited by British intelligence in World War II.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Natural History
    by Andrea Barrett

    A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award–winning author.

  • 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.

Who Said...

There is no worse robber than a bad book.

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


Solve this clue:

Y Can't G H A

and be entered to win..

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.