An illuminating look at the elusive category of chronic illness and autoimmune disease, written by New York Times bestselling author Meghan O’Rourke and inspired by her own personal journey.
"An authentically original voice and, perhaps more startlingly, an authentically original perspective."
“A call to action”
“A necessary conversation"
Now, more than ever, a silent epidemic of chronic illnesses (including autoimmune disease, post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, and long COVID) afflicts tens of millions of Americans. If you are one of them, we want this site to serve as a place where you can be seen, as we all work together to create much-needed change in comprehensive diagnosis, effective treatment, and advocacy for people living with unseen pain.
“An authentically original voice, and perhaps more startlingly, an authentically original perspective.” —The New York Times Book Review
“A ray of light into those isolated cocoons of darkness that, at one time or another, may afflict us all.” —The Wall Street Journal
“At once a rigorous work of scholarship and a radical act of empathy.”—Esquire
“With a poet’s sensibility, journalist’s rigor, and patient’s personal investment, O’Rourke sheds light on the physical and mental toll of having a mysterious chronic illness…Readers will be left in awe.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
A “personal and deeply moving exploration of life with chronic illness.”
—Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
“An affecting portrayal of how we view disease, experience illness, and search for healing.” —Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
“A medical detective story, dramatic and beautifully written in the manner of Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” —Oprah Daily
“O’Rourke is a poet above all else, and it’s with incredible, lyrical empathy that she not only shares her own story of and eventual diagnosis with late-stage Lyme disease, but puts it in perspective of an entire generation of patients who’ve been dismissed… A must read.” —Lit Hub
“With impressive clarity and depth, O’Rourke explores the failure of current biological science to identify the causes of numerous maladies or offer effective treatment, leaving a sufferer adrift. Bracing in its intelligence and remarkable in its sweep of both literary and medical scope, this book is essential reading for patients and medical professionals alike.” —Jerome Groopman MD, author of How Doctors Think
“Meghan O’Rourke’s book is a searing and thoroughly researched exploration of the pain and confusion that many of them go through in their quest to have their health issues taken seriously by the medical establishment—and, often, the world at large.” —Vogue
“O’Rourke’s honest and insightful account of chronic pain is at once a page-turner and an education in cutting-edge science and the history of ideas. I couldn’t put it down.” —Gretchen Rubin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project
“An astonishing must-read for anyone interested in how illness and suffering irrevocably change our sense of selfhood.” —Cathy Park Hong, New York Times bestselling author of Minor Feelings.
“The best book on the subject that I’ve read yet.” —Esmé Weijun Wang, New York Times bestselling author of The Collected Schizophrenias
“As we confront the long-term impacts of COVID-19, O’Rourke’s lyrical analysis couldn't come at a better time.” —Michael Specter, New Yorker staff writer and author of Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Harms the Planet and Threatens Our Lives
Named a New York Times Bestseller, Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by Vogue, Oprah Daily, Lithub and Kirkus and a Best Nonfiction Book of 2022 by Esquire