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Tender Points This is a very intense, poetic short memoir The author has fibromaylgia and I picked it up because I m intrigued and perplexed by some of these diseases that are hidden as she calls them I ll admit I grapple with thoughts related to something like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome fighting the urge to dismiss it as not a real illness And then I of course hate myself for thinking it easy to be dismissive when you re in good health I really want to understand and have better sympathy for th This is a very intense, poetic short memoir The author has fibromaylgia and I picked it up because I m intrigued and perplexed by some of these diseases that are hidden as she calls them I ll admit I grapple with thoughts related to something like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome fighting the urge to dismiss it as not a real illness And then I of course hate myself for thinking it easy to be dismissive when you re in good health I really want to understand and have better sympathy for those suffering from these types of illnesses also plays a role in one of my upcoming novels I do wish this was longer and explored certain topicsher background, and even the history of hysteria and the link with sexual trauma But overall gorgeously written and affecting and even the research parts incredibly salient Well done People in my life may think I am exaggerating but I am always in pain Every morning I wake up feeling like I was run over by a truck I feel like I ve been hit by a bus I wake up stiff like a coyote with rheumatism I wake up in the woods on a bed of dried moss I have a doctor I have a wolf I have an ex Interrupting me, stepping out from behind the same tree to block my path Invisible, impossible to prove Whether or not you believe me Imagine it repeating like a GIF This book was so gooPeople in my life may think I am exaggerating but I am always in pain Every morning I wake up feeling like I was run over by a truck I feel like I ve been hit by a bus I wake up stiff like a coyote with rheumatism I wake up in the woods on a bed of dried moss I have a doctor I have a wolf I have an ex Interrupting me, stepping out from behind the same tree to block my path Invisible, impossible to prove Whether or not you believe me Imagine it repeating like a GIF This book was so good, I can t stop thinking about it Tender Points stands on its own but formally thematically it reminds me of Sarah Manguso s The Two Kinds of Decay and a little bit of Claudia Rankine s Don t Let Me Be Lonely This book is a wonderful meditation on illness pain the idea of gendered pain specifically There s such a dearth of those narratives women who usually do talk about their pain are often ridiculed or dismissed which can be so dehumanizing For me the most powerful parts of her book was when she transcribed comments left on articles about FibromyalgiaThey re just whiney people who love to be sick,They re just nasty fat women who want to collect disability checks,I knew a woman with it she was miserable and had a whole Myspace dedicated to the constant painEven though this is specifically about Fibromyalgia I think this is what a lot of women who suffer from chronic pain and chronic illness have to deal with and why talking about it outside of message boards and support groups is so hard and why books like this are so incredibly important This book really meant everything to me, I loved it Tender Points is a narrative fractured by trauma Named after the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia, the book length lyric essay explores sexual violence, gendered illness, chronic pain, and patriarchy through the lenses of lived experience and pop culture Twin Peaks, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, noise music, etc Teaching Guide or Book Club Guide here bit aqJVX So good A very beautiful and poetic telling of life with chronic illness Fibromyalgia and a traumatic event rape This hit home in a lot of ways and was such a quick read everyone should read it Thewe read, thewe understand. This was quite possibly the best and most resonant book I ve ever read about chronic illness I have a lot of thoughts about it but I m not sure I can articulate them right now, but I will just say it was very empowering, as someone who s struggled with chronic illness that has enormously impacted my life and what I m capable of, to see many of the things I ve found myself thinking about written out this way Just because you deal with a condition or illness that medicine doesn t understand or This was quite possibly the best and most resonant book I ve ever read about chronic illness I have a lot of thoughts about it but I m not sure I can articulate them right now, but I will just say it was very empowering, as someone who s struggled with chronic illness that has enormously impacted my life and what I m capable of, to see many of the things I ve found myself thinking about written out this way Just because you deal with a condition or illness that medicine doesn t understand or know how to treat yet doesn t mean it isn t real Your pain is real Your struggle matters Your story matters I reread this while I had a migraine, and found it so compelling I changed my rating from three stars to five I found the short pieces moving, and while I was in a place of pain, reading them was very cathartic This time round, I appreciated Berkowitz s brevity and her clarity In 2018 I said This is written in the style I think of as poetry essays These pieces, rarely longer than 200 words, sometimes read like short pieces of prose, sometimeslike prose poetry or sometimes a spoken w I reread this while I had a migraine, and found it so compelling I changed my rating from three stars to five I found the short pieces moving, and while I was in a place of pain, reading them was very cathartic This time round, I appreciated Berkowitz s brevity and her clarity In 2018 I said This is written in the style I think of as poetry essays These pieces, rarely longer than 200 words, sometimes read like short pieces of prose, sometimeslike prose poetry or sometimes a spoken word piece This style works very well for Maggie Nelson and is exceptional in the work of Claudia Rankine, but Berkowitz doesn t have the same control as they do Sections, here, can feel repetitive or badly worded but my main criticism is the brevity of this book Berkowitz raises so many interesting topics, from the sexism inherent in the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, to the history of hysteria in medicine, to the meaning of psychosomatic illness and how we view illness in a capitalist society I m fascinated by all of this, but each section was so short that none of these pieces felt adequately explored, and I was left unsatisfied That being said, I do recommend this book there are some extremely strong pieces about medicine and sexism, and some very moving writing about living with fibromyalgia As I also have this diagnosis, I found these particularly moving, and it s very rare for me to see my lived experienced explored like this A poetic and meaningful interpretation of the culture of living with chronic pain, ptsd, and fibromyalgia As a sufferer myself, it s a beautifully written memoir as the world has been flooded with how to deal with books, it s just lovely to read that someone, somewhere elese in this world is being honest about the disease and it s origins, which is never a pretty place. So well written Anyone interested in fibromyalgia, rape culture and lyric essays should read this. On Friday I went to Skylight Books to see Maggie Nelson read from her masterpiece edit one of her masterpieces The Argonauts, and she gave a sterling endorsement for the writer that was following her, a young woman named Amy Berkowitz I didn t gather that Maggie Nelson was the opener to a headlining act, but was thrilled to see that her blurb was also on this book s back cover Also written in a format akin to The Argonauts and Citizen, Tender Points is an immensely American lyric as well I On Friday I went to Skylight Books to see Maggie Nelson read from her masterpiece edit one of her masterpieces The Argonauts, and she gave a sterling endorsement for the writer that was following her, a young woman named Amy Berkowitz I didn t gather that Maggie Nelson was the opener to a headlining act, but was thrilled to see that her blurb was also on this book s back cover Also written in a format akin to The Argonauts and Citizen, Tender Points is an immensely American lyric as well I picked up a copy and followed along as she read A searing document of a true eternal recurrence rape trauma and an informative treatise on the origins of fibromyalgia, the implications of the root pains in hysteria, a defense of the BOB in Twin Peaks, and a list of great noise music recommendations aside, it is a collage of disparate elements wholly connected through the communication of pain The reading triggered the hell out of me and there was some collateral damage incurred by that oftentimes those around me suffer when I fall into the infinite action replay spell but I digress At the signing, I told her I was working on my own piece about my sexual assault This is true I felt like I had hit a lull, but was invigorated by her ability to connect these elements together into a unified whole seeing her pull off the feat gave me something to rise to She wrote in my copy, To Mike, tenderly Write the thing All I want is to show it to her when it is finished If it s remotely something she can behold to the degree that I did for her work, it d be a hallmark victory for all that I have deigned to create A short virtuosic work i m 31 but i feel like i m 60 people in my life may think i am exaggerating but i am always in pain every morning i wake up feeling like i was run over by a truck i feel like i ve been hit by a bus i wake up stiff like a coyote with rheumatism i wake up in the woods on a bed of dried moss i have a doctor i have a wolf i have an ex interrupting me, stepping out from behind the same tree to block my path invisible, impossible to prove whether or not you believe me imagine it repeating l i m 31 but i feel like i m 60 people in my life may think i am exaggerating but i am always in pain every morning i wake up feeling like i was run over by a truck i feel like i ve been hit by a bus i wake up stiff like a coyote with rheumatism i wake up in the woods on a bed of dried moss i have a doctor i have a wolf i have an ex interrupting me, stepping out from behind the same tree to block my path invisible, impossible to prove whether or not you believe me imagine it repeating like a gif.this is the story about a woman who has fibromyalgia it is a common and complex chronic pain disorder that causes widespread pain and tenderness to touch that may occur body wide or migrate over the body amy talks about her experience with this disorder and her life struggles it is said that this disorder is a excuse for women to be lazy, and most people do not take it serious this disorder links back to her being raped by a doctor as a kid i did think at once maybe her being in constant pain is a mental thing and is way to cope with her trauma, but what do i know as i read her book i believe her words and she makes valid points since this disorder affects womenthen men, it is unknown and disregarded by people and doctors it is sad to hear these such things but we do come from a world that made it so that women can always be behind men men are trusted while women have to jump through hoops to be heard i cannot judge her from reading her story i could only get better informed and see the word through her eyes i am glad she decided to share her life and make peopleaware i have a certain soft spot for this book


About the Author: Amy Berkowitz

Amy Berkowitz is the author of Tender Points Timeless, Infinite Light, 2015 a book length lyric essay about chronic pain and trauma Other writing has appeared in publications including Bitch, McSweeney s, and Wolfman New Life Quarterly She lives in San Francisco, where she s working on her second book.


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