Sickened by Julie Gregory

Quite possibly the scariest book on child abuse that I have ever read.

“Sickened” is a story about Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome (MBP) where a young girl is subjected to her mother’s persistent cries that her daughter is sick and the frequent doctor’s appointments and tests that the child must undergo.  However, the nature of the illness is that the parent deliberately injures or sickens the child so that the doctor’s think that something is wrong, and end up doing tests and surgeries that are completely unnecessary, often painful, and force the child into a position of complete submission and complacency to the abusing parent’s will.

The child trusts the parent that the medicine will make them better, when actually, the parent is making them sicker to maintain their dominance over child, family and doctors.

Julie is another candid writer.  Her description of her family history and life, her own emotions and physical pains, and her sudden realization of what was actually happening make for a great descriptive story about how her life was lived before doctor’s (and family and friends) realized that a parent could actually do this to a child.

The psychological makeup of her family is beyond frightening; her mother makes Mommy Dearest look tame but the book brings you inside how psychology and medicine need to work together.  It also effectively proves that child abuse is not just limited to physical beatings, but there is an emotional and mental aspect that more often is ignored than assisted.

Like Wasted, realize that the author does not spare words in describing what happened in her youth.  But as MBP is a frequently missed diagnosis and is most likely more prevalent than we realize, it is a great book for spreading awareness of the disease and helping the medical profession to recognize that “doctor shopping” may have a hidden meaning.

5 Responses to “Sickened by Julie Gregory”

  1. Hi Christine, I’m so glad that you reveiwed this book. It’s number 14 on my “Read for Fun” list of books that I read this year. I swear I will NEVER look at a book of matches the same. The book really broke my heart. I so want to have more faith in the Social Services programs and in our communities that we could all, together, save children who are being abused. I really hope she does not have any children herself or at least not until she has had a lot of intensive therapy. Since she wrote her story so soon after living in that hell, I am skeptical about some of the details. Even though I’m sure writing the book could have been very therapuetic in itself.

  2. Yea. that mother was whacked (in reference to the book of matches) and it is going to take a very very long time for Ms. Gregory to actually feel whole again. I was honestly very afraid that her mother would find her a nice older man to give her away to- that was a worry I had when the issue presented itself. I found myself madder at the medical community for not realizing the mother’s manipulation and not responding to the patient’s comments- instead just letting the mother manipulate the entire situation. The characterization of the mother I do not doubt- while I agree that some of the author’s perceptions might be off, the mother is consistently portrayed throughout the book and she is a frightening character. Definitely a Lifetime movie in the making . . . .

  3. For the life of me I can’t think of what specifically either of your degrees are in (I know Shawna has a bunch of letters tho!) but you should really compare. It just occurred to me that you probably have a lot in common with each other but took it in different directions.

  4. Master Unblocker…

    […]Sickened by Julie Gregory « We’d Rather Read[…]…

  5. I read the book. I want to KNOW what happened to the other children. The ending was just plain wrong….I live in Montana and she had called Children’s Services…that’s where the book and any other clues came to an end. As a severely abused child I would like to know that something was done for Tina and her brother…so why that stupid screech to a halt? I went the website for Julie Gregory and was treated to nothing but a bunch of ads….was anything ever reported in the papers…was the mother prosecuted….why no follow up book or is there one that I am missing?

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