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Against Medical Advice: One Family's Struggle with an Agonizing Medical Mystery Hardcover – Oct 20 2008

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CDN$ 7.00 CDN$ 0.01 First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (Oct. 20 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316024759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316024754
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 458 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #568,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"A work of naked truth, as disturbing as it is important-Against Medical Advice turns Tourette's Syndrome inside out and shows us what it is like to be trapped inside a brain that has a nightmarish mind of its own. This true story of Hal Friedman's son, Cory, is a gift of honesty, huge courage, and hope, and a reminder that against all medical advice and odds, human beings can prevail." (Patricia Cornwell 2008-01-00)

"Against Medical Advice is a true story that reads like the most riveting of pageturners. Read it and feel at gut-level what it's like to be a child whose life is almost destroyed by a hellish array of nightmare medical symptoms. Best of all, watch what happens when an entire family stands together against all odds, armed with strength, perseverance, and love for one another." (Lisa Scottoline 2008-01-00)

"In the tradition of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Patterson and Friedman manage to get deep inside debilitating illness, and show us what life looks like from that perspective. Against Medical Advice is an amazing story of courage, fortitude and a family's love, simply told." (Terri Cheney 2008-01-00)

"Inspiring...a testament to the importance of family and the resilient nature of the human spirit." (George Pelecanos 2008-01-00)

"Against Medical Advice is both harrowing and heartbreaking, but is also a story of astonishing courage. This book stands as a testament to the amazing power of one family's unconditional love for each other." (Tess Gerritsen 2008-01-00)

"The frightening, frustrating life story of Mr. Friedman's son Cory, who for 13 years battled Tourette's syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorder." (The Wall Street Journal Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg)

"Against Medical Advice touches on numerous harrowing experiences Cory rode out in school." (USA Today Mary Brophy Marcus)

"A disturbing story but ultimately an inspiring one that affirms the power of families to overcome adversity." (The Arizona Republic)

About the Author

James Patterson has had more New York Times bestsellers than any other writer, ever, according to Guinness World Records. Since his first novel won the Edgar Award in 1977 James Patterson's books have sold more than 240 million copies. He is the author of the Alex Cross novels, the most popular detective series of the past twenty-five years, including Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Mr. Patterson also writes the bestselling Women's Murder Club novels, set in San Francisco, and the top-selling New York detective series of all time, featuring Detective Michael Bennett. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By stargazer 1914 on May 4 2009
Format: Hardcover
For anyone who knows someone with Tourette's Syndrome, has a relative with Tourette's Syndrome or has ever wondered about this difficult neurological disorder, this book is a must read. My son has the same condition as Cory in the book. Reading the book was uplifting to me and a good reminder of exactly what my son goes through every waking moment. I have done copious amounts of research into these conditions ever since my son was diagnosed at 5 years of age, but this book still taught me some new things. The way it is written, I think almost everyone would find it hard to put down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Sept. 30 2009
Format: Hardcover
Tourette's Syndrome is described as a significant neural-psychiatric disorder that involves the involuntary expresssion of motor and phonic tics. It is regarded as part of the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder family. Its victims usually manifest behaviour that is repetitive, disturbing and sometimes injurious to themselves. It is usually inherited at birth and diminishes by adulthood. Patterson's story about the extended ordeal of the Friedman family in an effort to find a cure for this disorder in their son, Cory, is one truly amazing story of courage, determination, and grace. In this narrative account of this protracted fight to win the battle against Tourette's, Patterson tells the story through Cory's eyes, from five years on to university. The reader gets to see how painfully awkward, down-right frightening, and socially restrictive this disorder can be to someone who otherwise is a healthy and intelligent boy looking forward to living a normal life. Cory shares what it is like to be tormented by peers who view these sudden spells of inexplicable convulsing as acts of entertainment, punished by teachers who see verbal outbursts in classes as acts of attention-seeking, and rebuked by coaches who regard these tics on the field as bad for team morale. While Cory and his parents struggle to make sense of his mysterious affliction, he is being plugged with some very powerful and scary antipsychotic drugs to control his ticcing. He even resorts to smoking and binge drinking to dull the anxiety and trauma that comes with having a disorder where any small sensation can set him off. All through the story, the Friedmans resist the urge to give up on helping their son overcome these urges and, in the end, their persistance pays off. Cory finally finds the therapy that supplies him with some critical personal management skills that are needed for regaining control of his own mental and physical environment. It is this triumphal part of the story that makes it worth reading.
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Format: Hardcover
Thanks to the bravery of the Friedman family we get an in-depth look into how wrong western medicine can be at times and how often the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing ... "Got a symptom - we have a drug for that! The drug creates a new set of symptoms? We have drugs for those too! Don't worry, just trust us". Tourette's is a frightening experience for the victim and the people who care about them and this quick read allows us to step inside that world and feel the fear and frustration of trying to live a normal life as your body becomes a separat entity which does whatever it wants. A recommended read for all adults!
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By GF84 on Nov. 23 2009
Format: Paperback
Took me less than an hour to browse - was not worth my reading - returned it. Was interested in the subject due to a similar occurance however it did not help me. I still deal with the twitches and movements which are related to a larger medical problem however it is like the chicken and the egg what do you solve first and what role does medication play vs. maintaining a quality of life and teaching the public that movement disorders can be normal facts of life. The medical end and solving the problem I did not get the answer to I was personally looking for.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 194 reviews
76 of 79 people found the following review helpful
Incredibly familiar Oct. 22 2008
By TSMom - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book was a phenomenal retelling of the life of someone with Tourette Syndrome. As a mother of three boys who all have the same diagnosis as Cory, I feel like I can adequately say that I am more of an authority on the subject than most. As I read through his life struggles, weeping through a great many of the pages, I could identify with much of the grief and pain that he and his parents have gone through. I believe that everything in the book was very accurately portrayed, from the lack of understanding of the educational system to the medical roller coaster ride of trial and error, not to mention the misery inflicted by social situations. I feel like the book was tastefully written to not bash the people who do not understand this condition, (including medical/mental health professionals) but to portray the frustration and mental anguish caused by this lack of understanding.

I highly recommend this book to all, but especially to those who have the fortunate opportunity to touch the life of someone with Tourette Syndrome. As is obvious in Cory's case, these children are incredible. They have to overcome so much more than the rest of us would ever dream of imagining just to live, let alone succeed. Thank you Cory, for sharing your life with us.
62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
Insight into life with Tourette's Syndrome or Disorder Oct. 26 2008
By BrianB - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is an fascinating, discouraging, and ultimately hopeful story of one child's struggle with Tourette's Syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder, alcoholism and misunderstanding. Although Corey, the one afflicted, did not write the book, the authors present it in the first person, giving the story a personal feel and immediacy. Corey develops a severe form of Tourette's at age five. He is given a variety of medicines over the years, and he suffers from a bewildering and distressing constellation of symptoms. Not surprisingly, he struggles at home and at school. Some of his teachers are understanding, and some are hostile, as he often disrupts the classroom with his unorthodox behaviors.

The book details how Corey receives ill treatment at the hands of the medical and educational establishments. Some of his doctors suffer from the messiah complex: the inability to admit that they might have prescribed the wrong medicine. Some of his teachers do not like him, because he can appear very difficult in class. He has a very hard time making friends. This prolongs and intensifies his misery.

I didn't always feel complete sympathy for Corey. At times, especially toward the end of the book, some of his complaining feels excessive. Corey maintains that his school aid entrapped him, reporting him for smoking on campus, an activity which was previously tolerated. He does admit that they "can't officially allow me to have a cigarette on the property." and he was supposed to walk far away from the school, but he was "a little lazy." He feels persecuted by the school board that recommends he repeat his junior year. After reading about the events of that year, It seemed that it was a reasonable decision, but the authors describe the board in highly unfavorable terms. The school relents when his mother makes a impassioned case for allowing him to continue. Still, they get very little sympathy from Corey.

The story is a valuable history of a child and a condition that is still a medical mystery. The writing is personal, direct, and to the point. I completed the entire book in two days. It seemed that Corey was speaking directly to me as I read. If you have an interest in Tourette's you should read this book, because it gives valuable insight into a personal experience. You cannot get this insight from a medical textbook. What emerges is the fact that modern medicine did not make anything easier for this young man. The education system helped him in some ways, but failed him in others. This book may not be a masterpiece of non fiction, but it could be a good and useful book for physicians and educators alike.
34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
A great read, an intense book Oct. 20 2008
By Anthony L. Marchigiano - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Some parts are intense. A few pages are among the realest, most moving pages you will ever read. Some parts were tough to experience through Cory's eyes, but the comfort and redemption of this book and the message it leaves you with is that we as Human beings are strong and can endure more than we can imagine if we refuse to be defined by our misfortune and embrace the love of those that love us. This book, better than any I have read, tells a true story in a real way.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
What a powerful story! Oct. 20 2008
By Matthew J. Haslett - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book about a strong young man with a similarly strong family. I personally do not know anyone with Tourette's syndrome and can only imagine how moving this book will be for them, given the effect it has had on me.

I feel honored to have had the opportunity to read this book about a truly remarkable young man named Cory Friedman and his wonderfully supportive family. It is a tale that has inspired me and humbled me. Reading about Cory's life makes me realize how incredibly strong some people REALLY are, how incredibly powerful their will to live is, and how incredibly powerful some families' bonds are.

If you want to read a book that will uplift your spirit and open your eyes to something beyond outstanding, then do not hesitate to read this book - you will hang on every page and probably finish it in several hours like I did!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
God bless Cory and his family Oct. 30 2008
By Look Up - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As the mother of a son with TS, I found this to be the most emotional read of my life. Cory's family's frustrating experience with the medical process mirrored our own. And like Cory's parents, my husband and I often felt very alone in our fight for our son's health and well-being. Please don't be tempted to think that Cory's struggle has been over-dramatized. I don't know Cory but I do know what it's like to see someone fight TS and it is thoroughly horrifying. I found Cory's letter to be the most profound part of the book, for it was truly in his own words and marked the beginning of his healing. I admire him and his parents beyond words and pray that they are deeply blessed by their willingness to share their personal story. Not everyone has the strength to bless others with their struggles. Cory and his family have done that brilliantly.