Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Feedback on 'The State of Me'

This just adds to the surrealness of events right now. After my granny's service, people were asking about my book. I told them - as I am telling everyone - I still have no concrete news, but hopefully this week... still, I think some of them went home and ordered it, as my Amazon rating went up, hurrah!

I recently dug out my proof reader's feedback on the novel - I had asked her if 'The State of Me' had changed her perception of M.E (at the time, I didn't know she had a medical background, which makes her comments even more significant). She has given me permission to quote her.

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I trained as a medical student in the 1980s and saw the 'birth', if you like, of ME so I was academically really interested here in the latest developments in terms of aetiology and underlying changes. TSOM's helped me to understand why the clinical picture occurs and what areas the limitations arise in. I've always viewed this as a 'real' condition and not just one for malingering yuppies, but it's given me a lot more insight into what it's like to live with it.

It's also been a very good reminder that behind any illness or condition lies the same person who was there before, albeit with a new look on life caused by the condition. The fact that the same characters are there in the book around Helen over a long period of time reinforces this continuity. I like the way, though, that they're not portrayed as superhuman to emphasise the contrast but as reassuringly as flawed and vulnerable as any of us.

What I find very hard to imagine is the sheer length of time that ME takes up, both in terms of the number of years involved and in terms of how it seems, from your book, to change the shape of the hours in the day. That's something I hadn't thought of before.

I hope the book has an effect like that of 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time' in terms of reversing the, for want of a better word, isolation of those with ME. Let's cross fingers for that one!

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It has been a horribly anxious time for everyone involved with TFP, and emotions are running high. A lot of negativity flying around - it is dispiriting to read. However, as I have said before, Clare Christian took my book on when others hadn't (in spite of them claiming to love the writing). Clare took a risk on me, and I guess with hindsight I took a risk on TFP - not that I saw it as a risk at the time, I was just overjoyed to be taken on. Publishing is such a fickle industry, but Clare saw the 'beauty' of the book and for that I am still thankful.

10 comments:

witnessing am i said...

It has to be a strange time for you -- beginnings not yet begun, endings that linger. Somewhere in the middle is a young woman trying desparately to breathe.

Things happen for a reason, though I am not sure the true cause is ever apparent to you or I. I cannot speak about your life, of course, but I am convinced that your writing touches people. In whatever form that takes.

I hope you are well.

nmj said...

hey david, you called me 'young', thank you!

witnessing am i said...

You and I are the same age, my friend, and I am young, so you must be too!!

nmj said...

mmm, i guess 44 isn't too bad as long as you don't ponder on it being almost 45, though i have 9 months before that atrocity...:)

Debi said...

45 is no atrocity, honey! In fact, my experience has been that life just gets better and better.

Hope that will be the case for you too and sending hugs in this horrible time.

nmj said...

hey debi, i'm sure it will be fine, not as bad as i am making out...

Dr Speedy said...

Hi,

With the RSM psychiatric conention almost there, your book would be a welcome reminder for people that we can all get ME and what a delightful business it is...

All the best with clearing the last hurdles.

Dr Speedy said...

Dear NMJ,

Your book will be a timely reminder in this day of psychiatric domination of the fact that we can all get ME and what a delightful business it is.

Good luck with clearing the last hurdles.

Mo said...

Following on from "witnessing am i", keep breathing! And don't give up hope.

If only we could make your book prescribed reading for all medical students...

nmj said...

thanks, dr speedy & mo - sadly if the hardened non-believers fail to be convinced by hard scientific evidence, they are not goin to be convinced by my novel, but hopefully, younger medics might see the light..