About the book
I would like to introduce myself, I feel it's only fair. Only I know you so well now, you might get a scare. I know you know I'm in there, though I crept with greatest stealth: I am the hidden monster buried within yourself. Joyce is only sixteen when she's torn from the life she loves. Two years pass, but Joyce, her family, and her best friend Logan, are no closer to learning what's causing her dizzying array of symptoms. As Joyce tried to come to terms with her increasing limitations those around her struggle to understand what she is going through. Baffled and unsure, the doctors eventually diagnose Joyce with ME and CFS. But when Joyce and her family refuse to accept this diagnosis, her mental stability is called into question. Desperate for the truth and scared for Joyce's life, their only hope lies in a private hospital where she is finally diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Can Joyce survive a treatment as brutal as her illness? Can she find her way in a world she no longer recognises?
Published by Brown Dog
Amazon UK £8.99 paperback
hive.co.uk £7.49 paperback
Amazon Kindle £3.33
A really insightful and heartfelt story which is obviously written by someone who has gone through the frustration of having an illness such as Lyme, or any of the invisible illnesses, and understands the despondency and isolation that the illness brings and through the character of Joy is able to share her thoughts, hopes and many fears of what lies ahead for her and what it takes to live day to day with an illness that completely devastates you and makes even the simplest of tasks a huge struggle.
Joy is 18 and should be living a life full of amazing adventures and out with friends all the time - but she's not. Her days are spent mostly alone and in darkness, but she has the support of her Aunt who she lives with and sees her at her worst and how an illness has robbed her of a life.
What I liked about the way this story was told was that it not only featured the point of view of Joy, but also that of her Aunt Beth and her friend Logan too and that was a inspired way of seeing an illness from different viewpoints. As a carer Beth gets to see the reality of Joy and the life she lives and that frustration she shows at not being able to get the help for her when needed comes across only too clearly. And in Logan, it isn't until he sees Joy at her worst that he truly begins to understand the impact that the illness she is dealing with has on her so it really helps you connect even more with how devastating it can be not only for the sufferer but those around them.
The exhausting journey that Joy and her Aunt go on to get a proper diagnosis is one I'm sure many invisible illness sufferers can really empathise with, and there is also a great use of lists throughout as to many things that go hand in hand with invisible illnesses such as the do's and don'ts of things to say, the lists of symptoms suffered, the limitations, the preparation needed in achieving an outing or task etc and that also helps give a greater insight into the daily battles someone might be facing.
As a M.E sufferer myself, I found this to be told with such heart and compassion and often had a tear in my eye at the similarities in my experience of life on a day to day basis and it was an emotional story to read that I hope will help others learn a little bit more about illnesses that you can't see.
My thanks to the author for the e-copy in return for a fair and honest review.