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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Myasthenia Gravis

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more

Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Secret Keeper of Jaipur
    The Secret Keeper of Jaipur
    by Alka Joshi
    Alka Joshi's The Secret Keeper of Jaipur is the sequel to her 2020 bestseller The Henna Artist and ...
  • Book Jacket: Seek You
    Seek You
    by Kristen Radtke
    In the first pages of Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness, Kristen Radtke's sophomore ...
  • Book Jacket: The Man Who Hated Women
    The Man Who Hated Women
    by Amy Sohn
    If debates over women's reproductive health seem stuck in an earlier era — the fact that birth...
  • Book Jacket: The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois
    The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois
    by Honorée Fannone Jeffers
    Honorée Fannone Jeffers' The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois explores the Black experience in ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
In Every Mirror She's Black
by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom
An arresting debut for anyone looking for insight into what it means to be a Black woman in the world.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Last Chance Library
    by Freya Sampson

    Fans of libraries and heartfelt, humorous fiction won't want to miss this one!

  • Book Jacket

    The Lost Notebook of Edouard Manet
    by Maureen Gibbon

    A sensual portrait of Manet's last years, and a vibrant testament of the artistic spirit.

Who Said...

In war there are no unwounded soldiers

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


Solve this clue:

Pull Y U B T B

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

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.