What's Wrong? Personal Histories of Chronic Pain and Bad Medicine

What's Wrong?

Personal Histories of Chronic Pain and Bad Medicine

  • ISBN: 9781419747342
  • Publication Date: January 23, 2024


Price: $29.99

“A humane and gripping work that illuminates how (and why) our treatments of chronic illness fail, and a devastating portrait of the ways our society fails to protect the bodies of its most vulnerable members.” —Melissa Febos, author of Girlhood, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award

"Erin Williams' What's Wrong? is an utterly riveting, deeply moving, absolutely molecule-rearranging exploration of pain--individual and collective--suffused with wit, wonder, and mourning; textured by compassion and curiosity, and vibrating with the humanity of its dynamic subjects. Williams' sharp, nimble, tender prose, and her searing art--humming with insight and imagination--speak to veins of human experience so difficult to articulate we often shy away from speaking them at all. But in these dark places, she finds vitality, collectivity, and hope. This book and its subjects will live inside me forever." Leslie Jamison, author The Empathy Exams

What’s Wrong? is author, illustrator, and scientific researcher Erin Williams’s graphic exploration of how the American health-care system fails us. Focusing on four raw and complex firsthand accounts, plus Williams’s own story, this book examines the consequences of living with interconnected illnesses and conditions like:

  • immunodeficiency
  • cancer
  • endometriosis
  • alcoholism
  • severe depression
  • PTSD

Western medicine, which intends to cure illness and minimize pain, often causes more loss, abuse, and suffering for those Americans who don’t fit within the narrow definition of who the system was built to serve—cis, white, heterosexual men. The book explores the many ways in which those receiving medical care are often overlooked, unseen, and doubted by the very clinicians who are supposed to heal them. What’s Wrong? is also a beautiful celebration of nontraditional modes of healing, of how we become whole not because of health care but despite it.

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