The Painted Bridge: A Novel by Wendy Wallace
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A well-written fictional account about the psychiatric treatment of women during the Victorian Age. I wasn't crazy about the main character, Anna, but this is mostly because she made decisions that I wouldn't have made. She's a much nicer person than me. This may be because of the time period; the author touches on women's rights several times and Anna wouldn't have been allowed some of the choices that are available to women nowadays.
That being said, this was a very difficult book for me to read - not because the book was bad, but because of my own personal issues. I began having reproductive problems when I was eleven-years old. I was told that my physical pain was not real -that it was all "emotional pain" - until I was twenty-four years old. Doctors refused to attempt any diagnostic treatments to determine the cause of my health problems, relying instead on this idea that my pain was "emotional."
From the ages of nineteen to twenty-four, I could barely walk and lived with constant pain. Dr. Ken Sinervo with the Center for Endometriosis Care in Atlanta, Georgia took me on as a patient in 2004. I had endometriosis that caused adhesions. An adhesion wrapped my appendix around my liver. My appendix died, due to loss of blood, and this would have happened to my liver if left untreated. You can't live without a liver. I would have died if Dr. Sinervo hadn't stepped in and saved my life. Thank the gods for the good doctors that are out there (for those who care, two of my former doctors have been jailed; a third fined. All three are no longer allowed to practice medicine in the state of West Virginia).
I didn't have any emotional trauma when I was eleven-years old, but I do now, because of what doctors did to me when they failed to root out the physical cause of my pain. I now deal with post traumatic stress disorder. I can't have children now. I missed out on too much of my life.
This book brought up all those issues again. I had to put the book aside several times because the book made me cry. It gave me panic attacks and nightmares. It isn't the author's fault that doctors continue to be negligent towards women's health. I'm glad Ms. Wallace raised the issue and I hope to see a modern day sequel that shows how this attitude towards women continues today.
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
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