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My Leaky Body: Tales from the Gurney Paperback – Sep 21 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Goose Lane Editions (Sept. 21 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0864926766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0864926760
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.1 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #60,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Part memoir, part manifesto, Julie Devaney's profoundly honest new book should be required reading for anyone who may ever have to visit a hospital — which mean, in effect, everyone. . . . moving and genuinely inspirational." — Shawn Syms, Quill & Quire (2012-09-04)

"She has written a rare, profoundly honest and comforting book recommended for anyone enduring the demoralizing maze that is the health-care system. . . . we understand the rage induced by a consistent lack of empathy, and struggle in solidarity as she attempts to reclaim her body and her life. . . . In giving us her rage, humour and fallibility, Devaney has perfectly highlighted our cultural fear of frankly discussing the reality of illness. She knows that we often live in a state of paranoia, attempting to hide from the inevitability of our own decay. We should be grateful she has done us the service of delivering every ugly detail of what she has endured, opening up a comforting conversation, giving her harrowing experience meaning, and utilizing it to empower others." — Stacey May Fowles, The National Post (2012-11-08)

"A complicated story told in a compelling way. . . . with aching prose and wry humour, she shares the intimacies of her life and offers a glimpse into her rage and determination. . . . It is a must-read for each of us who thinks there are definite answers to medical problems. It is a must-read for those who think that chronic illness must surely get easier to bear. And, yes, it is a must-read for medical professionals. . . . There are exquisite pieces of wisdom in this book." — Adelia Neufeld Wiens, Winnipeg Free Press (2012-12-18)

"My Leaky Body . . . lays bare the deficiencies in health care, creating somewhat of a road map for others who want to/must transform the system. This is a brave, daring, tell-all book filled with raw courage." — Owen Sound Sun Times (2013-01-21)

"Devaney's vision is of a world where health care is fully funded, and where med students are taught good manners, where sick people are comforted, not warehoused. . . . This dream should not only come true in theatres and books — but all across Canada." — Catholic Register (2013-01-21)

"If literature is the artist vulnerable, then writer Julie Devaney has created art out of the unlikeliest of mediums: ulcerative colitis. . . . This is a unique work, utterly original; raw, authentic and hungry." — Amy Anderson, Scene (2013-05-03)

"My Leaky Body is self-aware without being self-pitying. It is empowering without being condescending and it is a strong, new young woman's voice in Canadian non-fiction. This book will resonate whether you're reading it on a stretcher in the closet of a hospital too full to house you, or curled up in bed or in a café." — Tara-Michelle Ziniuk, Herizons (2013-09-11)

"This book is one that anyone treating chronic disease should read, as a patient viewpoint reminder and a frank, honest, angry, and often funny demonstration of how our policies, actions, and discussions aren't always received by patients in the way we hope. It is extremely well written in a candid and un-self-conscious style, but I was most impressed by what Julie Devaney has herself taken on in her real life. She has used her story and her experiences in courageous and innovative performances to improve the lot of other patients to come." — Cynthia Verchere, BC Medical Journal (2013-12-18)

"My Leaky Body is many things at once: it is a critical investigation of healthcare culture, an activist's handbook, a real-life horror story, and a provoking confessional memoir." — Aimee Ouellette, subTerrain (2013-12-18)


"Devaney's writing talent turns emergency-room neglect into poetry . . . She is one of the few individuals brave enough to complain without blaming. Her courage is raw." — Heather Mallick (2012-09-04)|"Julie Devaney's startling tale of illness and resistance is gripping, angry, sharply funny, and eye-opening. She tells what it's like to be a leaky body, to live with a debilitating embodied condition that has consequences not just in her health care but in all her personal and social relationships. Julie is by turns filled with 'terror, pain and disgust,' expected to feel guilt and shame, and yet always sustained by an extraordinarily productive anger. Her condition opens up a commitment to health care advocacy that culminates in her exciting workshop performances in My Leaky Body. It's a revelation to get an insight into her lived experience that is sure to find resonances in all of us." — Margrit Shildrick, author of Leaky Bodies and Boundaries (2012-09-04)|"I've often thought the only way people like me can really know what it's like to be a patient is to become one. Or take lessons from Toronto writer Julie Devaney who spent five years in and out of hospital." — Dr. Brian Goldman, White Coat, Black Art, CBC Radio (2012-09-04)|"Powerful, moving, enlightening, and funny, My Leaky Body should be required reading for med students and all health care professionals and for anyone who has had to navigate the health care system." — Robin Duke (2012-09-04)|"With television filled with fictional shows about life as a doctor — from ER to Grey's Anatomy — it is refreshing and insightful to see a performance about the reality of life as a patient. This intimate account blends anger and humour to reclaim the role as subject, not object. For those who think we have already achieved patient-centered care, this is a wake-up call." — Jesse McLaren MD, Emergency Room Physician (2012-09-04)|"Activist Julie Devaney uses her own experiences with colitis to criticize the health care system and the insensitivity of medical professionals as she's dragged through what she dubs 'hospital purgatory.' The conversational material rings scarily true and blends ironic humour with chilling realities. Moments of fantasy — she's visited by health care saint Tommy Douglas and opens her heart to Shania Twain — mix with concerns about having sex and the trials she suffers at the hands of caregivers and insurance companies. There is no question that Devaney is brave not only to tell her story but also to put herself onstage." — Jon Kaplan, NOW Magazine (2012-09-04)|"Brave, honest, touching, and truly hilarious, My Leaky Body can help unite medical professionals and patients to make health care the best it can be." — Diane Flacks, Toronto Star (2012-09-04)|"My Leaky Body is amazing and cutting edge. Julie is courageous to engage in this type of work which is testing the boundaries of traditional scientific approaches to health care research. Julie's performance work is vulnerable, touching, deep and real. It is reflective of how our current health care system can at times be. I think it is a unique approach and creates a gut impact. If you are a practitioner, policy maker or a patient, you must see her performance." — J. Lapum, RN, PhD, University of Toronto (2012-09-04)

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Canadians like to believe that we have the best health care system in the world....especially compared with out neighbour to the south. Read Julie Devaney's account of what she went through coping with a chronic illness. I would insist that it be manadory reading for students in medical school. Doctor/patient communication is discussed a lot. I have experienced some of the same insults to my body and psyche. Devaney is a very brave young woman. She exposed horrible institutional behaviour on the part of UBC as well as crises in the ER. You will not be able to put this book down. I was sorry when it ended. But Devaney turned lemons into lemon-aid. I'm so happy that she is now teaching medical professionals (doctors and nurses, in particular) what it feels like to be in the hospital bed, dependent and scared. Some docs need an attitude adjustment - big time. This book will help you deal with the medical world on your own terms.
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I think this is a book that all people should read --- not only individuals currently living with a chronic medical condition, but also medical professionals and any individual who has to ever make use of a medical system.

We often assume (or fool ourselves to believe) that the medical system is a well-oiled and properly-functioning machine, but what people often don't realize is that the system and its workers are subject to the same cultural factors that are present in all other social spaces/work environments. These include stereotypes, assumptions, emotions, desires, rejections, attractions, and egos/personalities.

Julie's book does a tremendous job at highlighting many of these factors in her detailed, interactive accounts of her medical visits, and we get a glimpse at precisely how different (and, more specifically: how traumatic, painful, and utterly dehumanizing) these visits can be.

As a person with IBS who has had to undergo many many colonoscopies: I give this five thumbs up!
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This young woman went through hell, not just because of her medical condition. She was abused by our medical system, and the people that "said" they were there to help her. She survived, recovered, and persevered to be an amazing force in the reform of the Canadian Health Care System. I hope she makes it!
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