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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: #196,315 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)

From the Inside Flap

Her most vulnerable moment spawned a battle for change. In and out of emergency rooms, Julie Devaney is poked and prodded, bearing the helplessness and chilling indignities of "hospital purgatory."

Part memoir, part love story, part revolutionary manifesto, this raw, harrowing, often gruesomely funny tale recounts Devaney's journey through hospitals and doctors' offices. Based on her popular one-woman show, My Leaky Body lays bare the deficiencies in health care, creating a road map for patients and for all those who want to transform the system.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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