Book Review

DANCING IN THE NARROWS by Anna Penenberg

Rating: 4.5 / 5

I received a complimentary copy of DANCING IN THE NARROWS by Anna Penenberg from She Writes Press for an honest review.

As the subtitle says, DANCING IN THE NARROWS is the author’s memoir of her journey with her daughter Dana through her daughter’s lengthy battle with chronic illness, in this case Lyme disease. The memoir gives information about Anna’s own story before and after the experience with Dana, but the main focus is on the harrowing ordeal of a disease about which not enough is still known.

From the trials of getting an accurate diagnosis through the treatments from both western medicine and alternative sources, Anna and Dana travel far and wide seeking relief from the relentless symptoms of Lyme Disease. Anna provides some of the scientific ideas behind the treatments attempted, though she makes it clear this isn’t meant to be any form of advice on how to proceed with treatment. She also looks at another frustrating part of Lyme disease, that treatments that work for others with the disease don’t work for all.

As someone who has had some experience in seeking a diagnosis and living with chronic headaches, this story instantly drew me in even though my experience pales in comparison to what these women have gone through. Knowing that what makes up the pages of this memoir was years of suffering was oftentimes heartbreaking.

Anna and her daughters are very interesting people to read about. They are artistic and outgoing by nature and the impact of the chronic pain on their lives is obvious in the way it changes everything in their family and friendships, even down to the way they set up their house. The impact on one’s mental health is seen as well, including the pain of having those close disbelieve the severity of the illness.

This was a very eye opening account and one that I am really glad I was given the opportunity to read! It is very much worth picking up to gain a greater understanding of those who live with chronic illness in themselves and in their loved ones!

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