Synopses & Reviews
Strong at the Broken Places is the remarkable story of five ordinary people trapped in the complex world of serious chronic illness. In this intimate portrait, acclaimed journalist Richard M. Cohen probes lives of sickness as these individuals struggle to cope.
In 2003 Cohen published Blindsided, a bestselling memoir of illness. The outpouring of support revealed to him that not only does the public want to hear from people who overcome the challenges of illness, but that in the isolated world of illness, there are people who want their voices to be heard. Strong at the Broken Places was born of the desire of many to share their stories in the hope that the sick and those who love them will see that they are not alone.
Cohen spent three years chronicling the lives of five diverse "citizens of sickness": Denise, who suffers from ALS; Buzz, whose Christian faith helps him deal with his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; Sarah, a determined young woman with Crohn's disease; Ben, a college student with muscular dystrophy; Larry, whose bipolar disorder is hidden within. The five are different in age and gender, race and economic status, but they are determined to live life on their own terms. Intimately involved with these patients' lives, Cohen formed intense relationships with each, talked to their families and friends, and shared joy, even in heart-breaking setbacks.
Though each individual's illness wreaks havoc in a different way, Cohen shows how their experiences are strikingly similar and offer lessons for us all—on self-determination, on courage in the face of adversity and public ignorance, on keeping hope alive, and on finding strength and peace under the most difficult of circumstances.
We are strong at the broken places, stronger than we think. In sharing these inspirational and revealing stories, Richard M. Cohen and his fellow warriors against illness offer a chorus of hope.
“Career journalist Cohen doesnt flinch from probing for truth about relationships, money, fear, and death….One only hopes that, with their group presentation to a class of Harvard medical students, these five taught young medicos as much as they could teach Cohen and, through him, us.” Booklist
“Extraordinary.” Larry King, Larry King Live
“This unusual book gives a voice to the voiceless--the chronically disabled who, in our health-conscious society, are defined by their disease....In this advocacy book, written like a personal journal, Cohen tells their stories....Strong at the Broken Places ends on a note of hope.” Providence Journal
“The strength of these profiles derives from Cohens focus on chronic illnesses that, as he notes, are not “sexy” and generally “do not resolve themselves”....these are stories dense with quotidian details.” Washington Post
An extension of his New York Times bestselling book BLINDSIDED, author Richard Cohen depicts one year in the lives of five individuals and their families who are living with serious, chronic illness. These "citizens of sickness," as Cohen calls them, were selected for the diversity of their ages, races, socioeconomic positions, illness types, stages of wellness and gender. Cohen profiles:
andndash;Denise, a woman with ALS from suburban Los Angeles, California
andndash;Buzz, a man with nonandndash;Hodgkin's lymphoma from Franklin, Indiana
andndash;Sarah from Cleveland, Ohio, 27 years old, with Crohn's disease
andndash;Ben, an eighteenandndash;yearandndash;old college freshman at Saint Mary's College of Maryland, with muscular dystrophy
andndash;Larry from Cleveland, Georgia, with bipolar disorder
Intimately involved with every aspect of these five patients' lives, Cohen formed intense relationships with his subjects, interviewing their families and friends, shadowing them on the job, accompanying them to doctor's visits and being available and present for the important moments of daily triumphs and setbacks. Though each individual's illness wreaks havoc in a different way, there is much common ground to be found in the emotional impact of chronic illness and the need to rise above. Readers will be carried into the hearts and minds of those who cope with sickness daily and learn about selfandndash;determination, courage in the face of adversity and ignorance, keeping hope alive and finding strength and peace.
The "New York Times" bestselling author of "Blindsided" offers an honest and inspirational perspective on living with chronic illness, witnessed through the lives of five remarkable individuals.
About the Author
Richard M. Cohen's distinguished career in journalism earned him numerous awards, including three Emmys and a George Foster Peabody Award. He lives outside New York City with his wife, Meredith Vieira, and their three children.