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A young girl is perched on the cold chrome of yet another doctor’s examining table, missing yet another day of school. Just twelve, she’s tall, skinny, and weak. It’s four o’clock, and she hasn’t been allowed to eat anything all day. Her mother, on the other hand, seems curiously excited. She's about to suggest open-heart surgery on her child to "get to the bottom of this. A young girl is perched on the cold chrome of yet another doctor’s examining table, missing yet another day of school. Just twelve, she’s tall, skinny, and weak. It’s four o’clock, and she hasn’t been allowed to eat anything all day. Her mother, on the other hand, seems curiously excited. She's about to suggest open-heart surgery on her child to "get to the bottom of this." She checks her teeth for lipstick and, as the doctor enters, shoots the girl a warning glance. This child will not ruin her plans. Sickened From early childhood, Julie Gregory was continually X-rayed, medicated, and operated on—in the vain pursuit of an illness that was created in her mother’s mind. Munchausen by proxy (MBP) is the world’s most hidden and dangerous form of child abuse, in which the caretaker—almost always the mother—invents or induces symptoms in her child because she craves the attention of medical professionals. Many MBP children die, but Julie Gregory not only survived, she escaped the powerful orbit of her mother's madness and rebuilt her identity as a vibrant, healthy young woman. Sickened is a remarkable memoir that speaks in an original and distinctive Midwestern voice, rising to indelible scenes in prose of scathing beauty and fierce humor. Punctuated with Julie's actual medical records, it re-creates the bizarre cocoon of her family's isolated double-wide trailer, their wild shopping sprees and gun-waving confrontations, the astonishing naïveté of medical professionals and social workers. It also exposes the twisted bonds of terror and love that roped Julie's family together—including the love that made a child willing to sacrifice herself to win her mother's happiness. The realization that the sickness lay in her mother, not in herself, would not come to Julie until adulthood. But when it did, it would strike like lightning. Through her painful metamorphosis, she discovered the courage to save her own life—and, ultimately, the life of the girl her mother had found to replace her. Sickened takes us to new places in the human heart and spirit. It is an unforgettable story, unforgettably told.


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A young girl is perched on the cold chrome of yet another doctor’s examining table, missing yet another day of school. Just twelve, she’s tall, skinny, and weak. It’s four o’clock, and she hasn’t been allowed to eat anything all day. Her mother, on the other hand, seems curiously excited. She's about to suggest open-heart surgery on her child to "get to the bottom of this. A young girl is perched on the cold chrome of yet another doctor’s examining table, missing yet another day of school. Just twelve, she’s tall, skinny, and weak. It’s four o’clock, and she hasn’t been allowed to eat anything all day. Her mother, on the other hand, seems curiously excited. She's about to suggest open-heart surgery on her child to "get to the bottom of this." She checks her teeth for lipstick and, as the doctor enters, shoots the girl a warning glance. This child will not ruin her plans. Sickened From early childhood, Julie Gregory was continually X-rayed, medicated, and operated on—in the vain pursuit of an illness that was created in her mother’s mind. Munchausen by proxy (MBP) is the world’s most hidden and dangerous form of child abuse, in which the caretaker—almost always the mother—invents or induces symptoms in her child because she craves the attention of medical professionals. Many MBP children die, but Julie Gregory not only survived, she escaped the powerful orbit of her mother's madness and rebuilt her identity as a vibrant, healthy young woman. Sickened is a remarkable memoir that speaks in an original and distinctive Midwestern voice, rising to indelible scenes in prose of scathing beauty and fierce humor. Punctuated with Julie's actual medical records, it re-creates the bizarre cocoon of her family's isolated double-wide trailer, their wild shopping sprees and gun-waving confrontations, the astonishing naïveté of medical professionals and social workers. It also exposes the twisted bonds of terror and love that roped Julie's family together—including the love that made a child willing to sacrifice herself to win her mother's happiness. The realization that the sickness lay in her mother, not in herself, would not come to Julie until adulthood. But when it did, it would strike like lightning. Through her painful metamorphosis, she discovered the courage to save her own life—and, ultimately, the life of the girl her mother had found to replace her. Sickened takes us to new places in the human heart and spirit. It is an unforgettable story, unforgettably told.

30 review for Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood

  1. 4 out of 5

    Petra-X Off having adventures

    Rewritten to protect the guilty and me from embarrassment. I wouldn't want anyone to think it was about them, especially if it was. (view spoiler)[I think a friend of a friend I know quite well has this. She prides herself on being able to talk to doctors in medical terms. She herself has had all sorts of things removed and is on various handfuls of pills and gets disability payments. She is small and pretty and probably anorexic. She can't work because of her back or do much housework. However a Rewritten to protect the guilty and me from embarrassment. I wouldn't want anyone to think it was about them, especially if it was. (view spoiler)[I think a friend of a friend I know quite well has this. She prides herself on being able to talk to doctors in medical terms. She herself has had all sorts of things removed and is on various handfuls of pills and gets disability payments. She is small and pretty and probably anorexic. She can't work because of her back or do much housework. However a full day's shopping at the mall, visiting Zara, John Lewis and other upmarket places is not beyond her. She had been divorced for years but didn't want to remarry for fear of losing various benefits. Eventually she did remarry to someone who was close to me and although his mother disapproved saying, "She's tried all the men in the community but no-one wants to take her on with all her sick children, so why you?" Her eldest son has several neurological disorders, Crone's disease, ADHD and Tourettes. He is chronically lazy, apparently a symptom of his various diseases. I think it's more a symptom of getting benefits if you don't work. He's very nice, good company, very bright and spends all day playing games online and fantasising about his future. If he got his act together he could go to university, but that would mean work. He has a very strange relationship with his mother. Almost like he is in love with her and demands all her attention. She pretends to hate this and closes doors in his face to emphasise it but all the time enables this behaviour by treating him like a recalcitrant child rather than the adult he is. Her second son had treatment for Crones and other illnesses and disorders as a kid. However, possibly because the emphasis was on his genuinely-sick older brother (there is only a year between them) he escaped the full brunt of his mother's malign attention and he is a high-achieving young man. His mother says he has to watch his diet and worries about the ill-effects of certain foods and various minor ailments she sees in him. There's nothing wrong with him at all and he doesn't watch his diet or anything else. Her daughter was a big fat lazy cow. Pretty and pretty dislikeable. She, like her mother feels entitled to the best, just because she exists. At 17 she sat most of the time on the sofa consuming family size bars of Cadbury's Fruit and Nut. Taking the dog for a walk meant opening the door to the garden, when she could be bothered. Once, three of us went to visit and expected a meal. She was on the sofa of course so we poked around. There were three breaded chicken breasts in the oven along with oven chips, more than enough for four and a whole baguette of cheesy garlic bread. Great! But no she said that was for her, that was her dinner and she hadn't made us anything, we should get a pizza! Her mother insisted she was fat because she had polycystic disease (along with Crones, a joint disorder, a back problem and I forget what else). I thought she was fat because she was unbelievably greedy and lazy. She wouldn't even go out to help with the shopping unless bribed with a Big Mac or several family-size bars of chocolate. She only went to college on days she got a ride, walking to the bus stop was just too much for her. This lot enabled the mother to spend a lot of time taking the kids to the doctors and hospital and needing a whole kitchen cabinet full of pills. When the family doctor changed to a very handsome and charming man, home visits were needed too. Her new husband is on all sorts of pills now for all the things that are (not) wrong with him. This lady likes people to recognise the illnesses she diagnoses herself and have them confirmed by doctors (really) and medicated. Her husband even had to have a minor operation for something or other. When her daughter turned 18 she got her a gastric bypass, persuaded the doctor it was the only possible thing that would help the girl. Diets had failed (she hadn't actually tried any in reality, in fact it was the mother that stuffed her to get her fat enough to qualify for the operation). A gastric band was too temporary, nope it had to be the whole nine yards. The poor girl was seriously ill with various illnesses related to the gastric bypass operation, in and out of hospital for months. I was sorry but did wonder if the mother was gleeful at yet another illness and a real one at that to be able to involve herself constantly with technical medical talk with doctors. Now if I challenged this lady about all these illnesses and chronic disabilities her family suffer from, she would turn on me, she is only doing her best... That's another thing she's good at. Turning on people. It keeps everyone, including her husband from actually saying anything. Good defence! If you are wondering if I like her, well she is more a friend of a friend that I have known forever, I don't particularly but she can be good company. She talks about health problems of all her family (parents included) a lot. She is looking for admiration for her knowledge and sympathy for her plight as she has to care for them despite her own physical limitations. I am just astounded that someone could manipulate the system and their children as she has and that no one, doctors and hospitals included, although I used to tell my mother and she didn't believe it but she was a hard old biddy at times, even seemed to suspect it. Until I read this book. Then I saw what she'd been up to. Read the book, it's the literary version x 100 of this lady. (hide spoiler)] If she ever reads this she will never speak to me again. Oh wait, she's not speaking to me now...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    The entire time I read this book, I was screaming in my head. Giving the riot act to the doctors to the father to the social workers that turned a blind eye. I was just as bewildered and pleading as Julie as, watching the doctors slice her open when nothing was wrong. I understood Julie. I can remember countless times, my eyes screamed volumes that no one wanted to hear or understand. And how everyone turns away, or shakes their head in disagreement but not one single adult will stand up for you The entire time I read this book, I was screaming in my head. Giving the riot act to the doctors to the father to the social workers that turned a blind eye. I was just as bewildered and pleading as Julie as, watching the doctors slice her open when nothing was wrong. I understood Julie. I can remember countless times, my eyes screamed volumes that no one wanted to hear or understand. And how everyone turns away, or shakes their head in disagreement but not one single adult will stand up for you. I understand what it's like to be a child confronted the rage of an adult, having done nothing to cause it. How you try to make yourself small, to try to stay out of sight. I know what it's like to try to do as many after school activities as possible because home was the last place you wanted to go back to. This is why this story spoke volumes to me- it was the desperation. Children go through this everyday. They spend their childhood afraid, and once they hit adulthood with all these hangups-that are there no matter how well hidden they are. They have to work years at undoing what was done. . It's just so unfair.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Gail

    Two stars. You'd think something with this much drama would manage to avoid being boring, but it wasn't the case. Munchhausen's and Munchhausen's by Proxy are fascinating syndromes. One of my favorite novels has a great example, but it's kind of spoilerific: (view spoiler)[ Sharp Objects (hide spoiler)] Unfortunately, Julie Gregory's story is not especially compelling. It reads more like a diary without the benefit of any adult perspective or introspection. It's very much "here's a list of thin Two stars. You'd think something with this much drama would manage to avoid being boring, but it wasn't the case. Munchhausen's and Munchhausen's by Proxy are fascinating syndromes. One of my favorite novels has a great example, but it's kind of spoilerific: (view spoiler)[ Sharp Objects (hide spoiler)] Unfortunately, Julie Gregory's story is not especially compelling. It reads more like a diary without the benefit of any adult perspective or introspection. It's very much "here's a list of things that happened - doctor's appointments, child abuse, tests, countless medications." The drama with her parents read more like episode of Jerry Springer. I understand her relationship with her parents directly tied into the medical side of things, but the crazy drama definitely overshadowed Julie's experiences with Munchhausen's by Proxy. The language was so...over the top I guess is the best word? Embellished? It makes it hard to connect with the story at its core. There's only so much screaming and abuse you can read about before it all becomes a wave of blah. You have to care about the people and emotions involved, and I never got there. I liked the inclusion of pictures of Julie's medical records, that was a nice touch. But ultimately, I wanted Sickened to be more interesting than it was.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    Though Munchausen's by Proxy is a terrible disorder that causes parents to inflict grievous pain and suffering upon their trusting and powerless children, I simply was not impressed with this book. Just another "look how ****ed up my upbringing was, but by god I'm a SURVIVOR!" There are so many survivors of so many diverse kinds of abuse, and it seems like everyone wants to write a tell-all now. Some are excellent -- e.g. "The Glass Castle" -- and some are so deliciously horrifying I couldn't sto Though Munchausen's by Proxy is a terrible disorder that causes parents to inflict grievous pain and suffering upon their trusting and powerless children, I simply was not impressed with this book. Just another "look how ****ed up my upbringing was, but by god I'm a SURVIVOR!" There are so many survivors of so many diverse kinds of abuse, and it seems like everyone wants to write a tell-all now. Some are excellent -- e.g. "The Glass Castle" -- and some are so deliciously horrifying I couldn't stop reading --e.g. "Running with Scissors" -- but "Sickened" was redundant and padded with too many lame metaphors and not terribly compelling a read. I did read to the end because I was curious about the fate of the family, but could not identify with any of the characters. I found the experience vaguely disappointing.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Interesting novel written by a victim of Munchausen by Proxy. I've seen Munchausen in my practice and it is an ugly disease, and very diffcult at times to detect. I'm not surprised the abuse Ms. Gregory suffered went on as long as it did, because of how sneaky and insidious the disease is. She does an admirable job writing about the abuse without becoming maudlin or playing for sympathy. She seems to be a woman in charge of her own health now, and the story rings of her strength and ability to f Interesting novel written by a victim of Munchausen by Proxy. I've seen Munchausen in my practice and it is an ugly disease, and very diffcult at times to detect. I'm not surprised the abuse Ms. Gregory suffered went on as long as it did, because of how sneaky and insidious the disease is. She does an admirable job writing about the abuse without becoming maudlin or playing for sympathy. She seems to be a woman in charge of her own health now, and the story rings of her strength and ability to find meaning and peace in her life. I wish there had been more discussion of Munchausen and Munchausen by proxy so people who aren't familiar with it could really understand it. It is tragic that abuse is continued in families through this horrific illness and children are miserable and die because of it. It was an engrossing read and left me sad, horrified, and ultimately awed by Ms. Gregory's determination to break free of both being abused and being an abuser.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    “Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever” ~ Baron Münchausen. Hoooooolllllllllllllllyyyyyyyyy crapsickle. Julie Gregory memoirs her childhood as a munchausen by proxy victim and it’s a hell of a gawker story. Not as jarring as The Glass Castle in my opinion but still… Christ… what the hell? People really do suck. “You looking for the suckers, honey? Here, let me get ‘em for you.” Mom pulls out a new book of matches and carefully bend “Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever” ~ Baron Münchausen. Hoooooolllllllllllllllyyyyyyyyy crapsickle. Julie Gregory memoirs her childhood as a munchausen by proxy victim and it’s a hell of a gawker story. Not as jarring as The Glass Castle in my opinion but still… Christ… what the hell? People really do suck. “You looking for the suckers, honey? Here, let me get ‘em for you.” Mom pulls out a new book of matches and carefully bends back the cover to expose two fresh red rows of the minipops she’s been giving me for as long as aI can remember. My mouth waters when I see their shimmery crimson tips. The first one is always the best, and I pluck it out and get it fast on my tongue, waiting for the metallic zolt to rush my taste buds. Once the hardest layer dissolves, I flop the match against the side of my teeth and crunch the softer bits off the stick, spitting the white flimsy paper to the floor, swallowing the rest.” Munchausen by proxy… we’ve all seen The Sixth Sense… we remember that little girl in the tent with Haley Joel Osment. She scared the bejeezus out of me. We remember the video of her mother pouring Pine Sol into her soup, right? Yessireee…. My faith in humanity waned big time then. Definition: “In the Münchausen by Proxy syndrome, an adult care-giver makes a child sick by either fabricating symptoms or actually causing harm to the child, whereby convincing not only the child but others, including medical providers, that their child is sick.” Named after Baron Munchausen, a german nobleman who enjoyed exaggerating and was documented in literature as a sort of ‘cry wolf’ sort. MBP could be presented in many ways… such as the Pine Sol scene from above or say, poisoning your child with excessive amounts of salt or um….tainting your child’s urine with your own blood… In Julie Gregory’s case it included not feeding your child and then bringing them to the doctor saying that they are listless and weak (duh) or convincing the child that something is wrong with their heart and introducing doctor upon doctor until the mother (it’s usually a female caretaker) finds a doctor willing to run a battery of invasive tests to determine the problem and then screaming at the doctor when he refuses to do open heart surgery on the kid. Hmmm… There are many incidents in this book that just scream ‘holy jumpin'josaphat!’--- her mother was a pathological liar who had grown up in an abusive situation and demanded attention at all costs. Nature versus Nurture at its best. Half the time I wasn’t sure if I felt bad for the crazy bitch or if I wanted to kick her ass. Of course the kids have little idea of what is happening, they just want to please their parents… so Julie misses school, nods and yeps when her mother explains all the symptoms that Julie has been experiencing. She lets people prod her in those very special places and she gets her chest shaved like half a dozen times so they can test her heart. If only this was all she had to endure…. her mother would often make up lies about the kids to get her husband’s attention, which could result in beatings for the kids. She would often run around their doublewide screaming how horrible her life was and the kids would have to pry the shotgun from her hand when she threatened suicide. Where was this Brady Bunch episode? The story was a clusterfuck of events and the fact that Gregory could document this AND include photos (adds to the rubbernecking, trust me) shows a committed resolve to get people to pay attention. I was not so fond of the language… it was too flowery or too embellished making her seem more dramatic than she needed to be. Her story stands without the whole broken mirror/shattered image cliché.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Eva Marie

    I'm not sure what to even say about this book. Most of the time I was reading it I felt just as the title says, sickened. I've read a lot of true crime and child abuse books and it never fails to resonate with me when someone can treat a child like this. This girl went through such terrible, terrible situations as a child, her mother actually succeeding in making her, along with many, many doctors and hospitals, believe she was truly sick and is still dealing with the after effects to this day. I'm not sure what to even say about this book. Most of the time I was reading it I felt just as the title says, sickened. I've read a lot of true crime and child abuse books and it never fails to resonate with me when someone can treat a child like this. This girl went through such terrible, terrible situations as a child, her mother actually succeeding in making her, along with many, many doctors and hospitals, believe she was truly sick and is still dealing with the after effects to this day. Trying time and time again to have a reltionship with either parent when both refuse to own up to what they did, the mother trying to do it all over again to another pair of children making the authors life hell still today. The things done to this child ranged from saying that she "wasn't as pretty as the other girls and never would be" to forcing her to eat an elderly mans "snot rag" (their words, not mine). I was literally sickened the whole time reading this and I'm not sure she could have ever came up with a better title for this book. I'd love the chance to speak with her mother.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    Julie Gregory grew up in an abusive household. Her mother had Munchausen by Proxy, a mental disorder that causes someone to seek attention by inflicting medical symptoms on a dependent. Throughout her childhood, Julie was told that she was sick. She was starved, beaten, and taken out of school for doctor's visits and hospital stays. Her mother insisted that every possible test be done (including invasive ones), in order to "get to the bottom of this". Julie was punished if she didn't go along wi Julie Gregory grew up in an abusive household. Her mother had Munchausen by Proxy, a mental disorder that causes someone to seek attention by inflicting medical symptoms on a dependent. Throughout her childhood, Julie was told that she was sick. She was starved, beaten, and taken out of school for doctor's visits and hospital stays. Her mother insisted that every possible test be done (including invasive ones), in order to "get to the bottom of this". Julie was punished if she didn't go along with the symptoms her mother told the doctors she had. This is Julie's story of her childhood and how she finally broke free. Readalike suggestions: For more memoirs of child abuse or mental illness, suggest "A Child Called It" by Dave Pelzer, "Wasted" by Marya Hornbacher, or even "Prozac Nation" by Elizabeth Wurtzel. For books with a similar literary tone, try "Autobiography of a Face" by Lucy Grealy or "Truth and Beauty: A Friendship" by Ann Patchett.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This book was a little disappointing. More than following the issues of Munchausen by Proxy, the author reveals more about the emotional and physical abuse her mother and father. I was expecting more detail (and I guess more Munchausen issues) then was given.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Angie crosby

    Wow this book was disturbing, yet I was unable to put it down. It drew me in fast and kept me riveted. It a memoir of a childhood lived with a muchausen by Proxy mom. Julie was carted to doctor after doctor, made sick with pills, all sorts of terrible things. There was also physical abuse. It was hard to read it spots. A very good book, one that I think more people should read, specially hospital/doctor staff. It really gives a deep look into what a person with muchausen by proxy is like, and wh Wow this book was disturbing, yet I was unable to put it down. It drew me in fast and kept me riveted. It a memoir of a childhood lived with a muchausen by Proxy mom. Julie was carted to doctor after doctor, made sick with pills, all sorts of terrible things. There was also physical abuse. It was hard to read it spots. A very good book, one that I think more people should read, specially hospital/doctor staff. It really gives a deep look into what a person with muchausen by proxy is like, and what it is like to be the child the mother is making sick. I was left wondering if Julie was able to get tina out of the house. Great and disturbing read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    I studied the fascinating psychiatric disorder Münchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy for over thirty years, a condition where parents (most often mothers) sicken their children in order to receive attention and sympathy for themselves. I had seen Julie Gregory interviewed on 20/20 or Dateline when SICKENED was initially published. As sorry as I was for the medical abuse she endured, I didn’t feel as if SICKENED added anything to the literature available on Münchausen’s or that her perspective added to m I studied the fascinating psychiatric disorder Münchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy for over thirty years, a condition where parents (most often mothers) sicken their children in order to receive attention and sympathy for themselves. I had seen Julie Gregory interviewed on 20/20 or Dateline when SICKENED was initially published. As sorry as I was for the medical abuse she endured, I didn’t feel as if SICKENED added anything to the literature available on Münchausen’s or that her perspective added to my understanding of the impact of the disorder. What Gregory endured was horrendous, as is all child abuse. Because offenders doctor shop, Münchausen’s is difficult to prove and indict. Gregory’s writing was bogged down with voluminous adjectives and adverb making reading arduous rather than pleasurable. I was interested in how Gregory recovered from her childhood, but she spent more time detailing the abuse which had less interest to me. I hope she avails herself of whatever psychiatric help she needs to be free from the impact of her childhood.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Vegan

    Munchausen by proxy (MBP) was not the worst of the abuse that this writer suffered as a girl; the other physical abuse and especially the emotional abuse stuck me the most. The brutality of the facts of this story reminded me a bit of one of my favorite books: Blackbird by Jennifer Lauck. The circumstances were different for each child, but neither book is for the faint of heart; the background of the writer is horrendous, and it always amazes me what some people are able to survive and at least Munchausen by proxy (MBP) was not the worst of the abuse that this writer suffered as a girl; the other physical abuse and especially the emotional abuse stuck me the most. The brutality of the facts of this story reminded me a bit of one of my favorite books: Blackbird by Jennifer Lauck. The circumstances were different for each child, but neither book is for the faint of heart; the background of the writer is horrendous, and it always amazes me what some people are able to survive and at least partially overcome. It took me a while to get into the book (partly because of the style) but once I did I didn’t want to put it down. What was especially disturbing and sickening for me was having to not only absorb Julie’s story, but those of her brother, the foster kids, the elderly men, and even her father, and even her mother. It was a difficult read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jackdaw

    "My body, sliced, diced, and probed away from me for nothing." "My body, sliced, diced, and probed away from me for nothing."

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shaun

    This is an interesting personal account of a Munchausen by Proxy survivor. As a "survivor" book, it's okay, though the topic itself (Munchausen) is somewhat more interesting than the writer and I don't mean that in a belittling or disrespectful way. Much of the narrative was repetitive and felt bulky thanks to the author's penchant for metaphors, some that worked better than others. Personally, I wish Ms. Gregory had delved further into her mother and father's histories (she gives some background, This is an interesting personal account of a Munchausen by Proxy survivor. As a "survivor" book, it's okay, though the topic itself (Munchausen) is somewhat more interesting than the writer and I don't mean that in a belittling or disrespectful way. Much of the narrative was repetitive and felt bulky thanks to the author's penchant for metaphors, some that worked better than others. Personally, I wish Ms. Gregory had delved further into her mother and father's histories (she gives some background, but I wanted more). I would have also appreciated more discussion of the disorder (stats, case histories, causes, treatments...etc). And I did not see the point of the excerpts from her medical records as I don't feel they added anything to her story other than proof this really happened, though the charts themselves weren't so damning. That said, this is really a bizarre diagnosis with devastating implications and the book is competently written, if not the best of its kind.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    This disturbing memoir is the account of a mother who intentionally invented symptoms and illness for her daughter to gain attention from medical professionals. This is known as Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome. The best pop culture example is the little girl in the Sixth Sense (Mischa Barton pre-O.C. days). I learned a lot about this syndrome from a short medical introduction; the rest of the book is Julie Gregory’s story. It is heavy, lots of adult content and language. Some of the events that hap This disturbing memoir is the account of a mother who intentionally invented symptoms and illness for her daughter to gain attention from medical professionals. This is known as Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome. The best pop culture example is the little girl in the Sixth Sense (Mischa Barton pre-O.C. days). I learned a lot about this syndrome from a short medical introduction; the rest of the book is Julie Gregory’s story. It is heavy, lots of adult content and language. Some of the events that happened to this girl is so sad. It is eerie to see her medical records and disappointing to see how medical professionals overlooked her explanations and implicitly trusted her mother. I feel more informed after reading this but her story truly is horrifying in many aspects and a little depressing. It seemed like she really brushed over her recovery as well, but perhaps that is because there isn’t much known about MPS and not many therapists dealing in that particular specialty.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sammy Sutton

    An excellent book to read for those with a need to know and understand this complex illness. For others use your own judgement. This is a very disturbing illness that really created a lot of attention about 10 years ago in the mental health and medical field. 'Sickened' is a very well written page turner, but it is a true story...no fiction here. An excellent book to read for those with a need to know and understand this complex illness. For others use your own judgement. This is a very disturbing illness that really created a lot of attention about 10 years ago in the mental health and medical field. 'Sickened' is a very well written page turner, but it is a true story...no fiction here.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Erin Cataldi

    A powerful memoir about a young woman's messed childhood dealing with Munchausen by Proxy (MPB) at the hands of her mother. Prior to this book I had never heard of MPB, but after reading this sordid tell all, I definitely have a grasp for how horrible it is. Basically a parent or other figure convinces you that our sick and you need to go to doctor to doctor to find out what is wrong with you. Unnecessary tests, surgeries, and being forced to lie to doctors is just the tip of the ice berg. Her p A powerful memoir about a young woman's messed childhood dealing with Munchausen by Proxy (MPB) at the hands of her mother. Prior to this book I had never heard of MPB, but after reading this sordid tell all, I definitely have a grasp for how horrible it is. Basically a parent or other figure convinces you that our sick and you need to go to doctor to doctor to find out what is wrong with you. Unnecessary tests, surgeries, and being forced to lie to doctors is just the tip of the ice berg. Her parents were also mean, abusive, belligerent, and uncaring. It's a horrifying book reminiscent of "A Child Called It." It's eye opening and I hope to God, that Julie Gregory is able to move on with her life for good. Soo much trauma, I can't even imagine.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I had to read this for a class in child abuse and neglect. Very disturbing, yet impossible to put down. It's a miracle the author is alive to tell her story. I had to read this for a class in child abuse and neglect. Very disturbing, yet impossible to put down. It's a miracle the author is alive to tell her story.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amie's Book Reviews

    SICKENED is an eye-opening look at how sick some people can be. If you haven't heard of it yet, this book is a first person account of growing up with a seriously mentally ill mother. At the time Julie had no idea that being dragged to hospital after hospital was not how every child was treated. Her mother coached her on exactly what she was to say to the doctors. The doctors were unaware that the symptoms were being faked and Julie was subjected to a litany of tests that an adult would find inv SICKENED is an eye-opening look at how sick some people can be. If you haven't heard of it yet, this book is a first person account of growing up with a seriously mentally ill mother. At the time Julie had no idea that being dragged to hospital after hospital was not how every child was treated. Her mother coached her on exactly what she was to say to the doctors. The doctors were unaware that the symptoms were being faked and Julie was subjected to a litany of tests that an adult would find invasive and even painful. She even had unnecessary surgery. If Julie was not convincing enough, she was punished harshly by her mother. When her mother was not dragging her to medical appointments and hospitals, Julie still had no escape from the abuse. At home (where she should have been able to feel safe and secure) her mother subjected her to more child abuse, including beatings and starvation. As far as I am concerned, Julie Gregory deserves a medal for somehow finding the fortitude and inner strength to survive her horrific childhood and to grow up and become a "normal" member of society. This is a book that needed to be written. Julie's mother was suffering from a mental disorder known as Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy. This is characterized by the person wanting the attention heaped on the mother of a sick child. Julie Gregory has written a memoir that will stay with you probably for the rest of the reader's life. It is only through books such as this one that we, as a society, are educated about this form of child abuse, and with education comes vigilance. Now that people, especially those in the medical profession, know about this syndrome, they can watch for it and hopefully save many other children from suffering in the same way that Julie did. I rate this book as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐ To read more of my reviews visit my blog at http://Amiesbookreviews.wordpress.com Follow me on Instagram http://www.instagram.com/Amiesbookrev...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Glitterbomb

    There are monsters everywhere in the world. They come in all shapes and sizes, all races and religions. Some are trusted, admired and respected. Some are called friend, colleague, neighbour. Monsters should never, ever be called "Mum" or "Dad". I really don't want to go into this too deeply because I found it to be a distressing read. The fact that Julie not only survived, but was able to tell her story is testament to her bravery. Julie is a victim of Munchhausen By Proxy. A condition where a ca There are monsters everywhere in the world. They come in all shapes and sizes, all races and religions. Some are trusted, admired and respected. Some are called friend, colleague, neighbour. Monsters should never, ever be called "Mum" or "Dad". I really don't want to go into this too deeply because I found it to be a distressing read. The fact that Julie not only survived, but was able to tell her story is testament to her bravery. Julie is a victim of Munchhausen By Proxy. A condition where a caregiver or spouse fabricates, exaggerates, or induces mental or physical health problems in those who are in their care, with the primary motive of gaining attention or sympathy from others. It is an extreme form of child abuse and many children do not survive. As horrific as that is, there was also physical, verbal, and emotional abuse. Julie was beaten, starved, and subjected to situations no child should ever bear witness to. All because her mother wanted the attention. I'm sorry, I have to cut this short. This book really distressed me. I'm glad I read it though, as horrific as it is, because I want to wing my mental love to Julie and tell her what a remarkable human being she is.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED!! A very disturbing story about one child's experience growing up under the care of her mothers affliction with Munchauser by proxy. I applaud the author for speaking out and sharing her explicit upbringing. I had trouble reading the details, and can only imagine the authors realities. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED!! A very disturbing story about one child's experience growing up under the care of her mothers affliction with Munchauser by proxy. I applaud the author for speaking out and sharing her explicit upbringing. I had trouble reading the details, and can only imagine the authors realities.

  22. 4 out of 5

    peg

    Sickened is the autobiograpy of a woman who fell victim of her mother who suffered from the psychological disorder, Munchausen's by proxy, and her journey to as "normal" a life as possible. Sickened is the autobiograpy of a woman who fell victim of her mother who suffered from the psychological disorder, Munchausen's by proxy, and her journey to as "normal" a life as possible.

  23. 4 out of 5

    tee

    Weirdly, ones first reaction is to want more from this book. She didn't suffer enough, she should have been sicker, her mother should have been worse (and I'm not alone in this, there's other people who echo my thoughts but just aren't aware that they're hungry for the gore). The thing is, Gregory's abuse was severe and it doesn't matter how mild a case of Munchausen's it was- if you put yourself in her place, in the body and mind o a fragile, dependent child - the experience must have been horr Weirdly, ones first reaction is to want more from this book. She didn't suffer enough, she should have been sicker, her mother should have been worse (and I'm not alone in this, there's other people who echo my thoughts but just aren't aware that they're hungry for the gore). The thing is, Gregory's abuse was severe and it doesn't matter how mild a case of Munchausen's it was- if you put yourself in her place, in the body and mind o a fragile, dependent child - the experience must have been horrific. Her mother was twisted, her father turned a blind eye and she was completely alone with her trauma. Her brother, so damaged by his childhood, that he's repressed all memories of it. Not many of us have probably experienced a perfect childhood. Even if you had fabulous parents, I'm sure there were moments that have left you a little scarred. Perhaps a heated argument between your parents? Can you remember the fear from that moment? And I bet you still carry it around with you. Imagine living with Gregory's experiences. I experienced a fair amount of damaging shit in my childhood and it's amazing how the smallest things are what I recall, my stomach churning in knots - days where dad had had enough of being as patient as a saint with mum's bullshit and finally snapped, thumping his hand on a wall making a clock fall down and smash. The terror I remember from that moment is immense! Let alone someone like Gregory whose father smacked her head into the coffee table, or whose mother ignored broken wrists for her own amusement. Or stood by nonchalantly while her daughter screamed whilst getting catheters put in. Pain and trauma isn't comparable, everyone handles and processes it differently but you can't help but feel your heart go out to Julie. The book itself was fairly well written. Gregory's prose was a little overblown and dramatic at times, she shifted tenses frequently and the last 30 pages or so dragged on without much structure but all in all, it was an interesting account of a childhood living with a MbP mother. It must have been extremely cathartic to write and I hope that she's in a much better place these days. I also hope that her mother has been brought to justice and has had the right to have access to children stripped from her. It's so sad that this shit happens in the world.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine Diaz

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Its about this girl who's parents asumes shes sick and always has her missing school to take her to the doctors. The mom takes her to the doctor and tells the doctor all these simptoms she says her daughter has. The weird thing is that her daughter is not sick her mom is just making it up. Her mom takes her to a hospital where the doctor runs all these heart test because she says her daughter has a heart condition. They run several test but all of them came out negative indicating that nothing w Its about this girl who's parents asumes shes sick and always has her missing school to take her to the doctors. The mom takes her to the doctor and tells the doctor all these simptoms she says her daughter has. The weird thing is that her daughter is not sick her mom is just making it up. Her mom takes her to a hospital where the doctor runs all these heart test because she says her daughter has a heart condition. They run several test but all of them came out negative indicating that nothing was wrong with her so they make an incision in her leg to see and hear her heart beat but still they couldnt find anything wrong with her...She ran wawy from home because she had told some one that her parents where abusing the foster kids and her self so her mom got so mad so she told her to do some work before her dad came home to give her her beating.She ran away and lived in a correctional shelter for teens. Her parents ended up turning the story back to her and making her look bad so she droped the charges she had on her parents....She went home again and bagan feeling better.She did not take pills or anything the doctors over the years prescribed. One day when she spent a night at her friends house her house had burnet down over night. Her parents got all the insurence money and her mom went to Mexico with the guy who lent them the trailer...when she came back she told Julie that her husband and planed to burned down the house and that he killed her dog ..

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ericca Thornhill

    Munchausen syndrome is when you make yourself sick to get attention. Munchausen by proxy is when you make someone else sick to get attention. It's what happened to the little girl in the sixth sense. In this memoir, the author shares her perspective of having lived through it. Goodreads suggested this to me, perhaps because I gave such a high rating to Carolyn Jessop's memoir about living in Warren Jeff's society. But this is the third memoir that I've read now, and I don't think that I like this Munchausen syndrome is when you make yourself sick to get attention. Munchausen by proxy is when you make someone else sick to get attention. It's what happened to the little girl in the sixth sense. In this memoir, the author shares her perspective of having lived through it. Goodreads suggested this to me, perhaps because I gave such a high rating to Carolyn Jessop's memoir about living in Warren Jeff's society. But this is the third memoir that I've read now, and I don't think that I like this genre. Jessop's memoir had a story arc, there was rising tension and promises to the plot, but I don't find that here. In Sickened, you are given sad story after sad story about how terrible this woman's mother was. It read a lot like "A Child Called It," yet seemed even more voyeuristic, if that is possible. It is a disturbing book, which is probably what the author was aiming for, now I know how this disease might play out in my students, and to watch for it, but just when the story was getting interesting, "how is she going to deal with her mother?", the story stopped. I guess there is a sequel? As for me, just reading an encyclopedia article on this syndrome would have been enough. I skimmed after the 100th or so sad story. It was an awful life this woman lived, I'm glad she got out of it, and I'm glad she's helping others, and if you are an activist, this book is for you.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amanda L

    Despite all life has waged against her, Julie Gregory has an empowered voice. Here, she details growing up with her mother's obsessed effort to contrive symptoms and illnesses for her, soliciting doctors for drastic and unnecessary tests and treatments. Gregory gives a candid and wise account of the manipulation and emotional abuse inherent in her mother's control and insightfully decodes the psychological ramifications of her victimization. While you get a thorough understanding of this manifes Despite all life has waged against her, Julie Gregory has an empowered voice. Here, she details growing up with her mother's obsessed effort to contrive symptoms and illnesses for her, soliciting doctors for drastic and unnecessary tests and treatments. Gregory gives a candid and wise account of the manipulation and emotional abuse inherent in her mother's control and insightfully decodes the psychological ramifications of her victimization. While you get a thorough understanding of this manifestation of MBP, it is keenly apparent that the pathology of this family runs so much deeper. Gregory has a lyrical yet forthright style. She doesn't beg your pity in this pained account of a tortured and stolen childhood. And though I didn't get the sense that her aim was to impose any trite lessons in existentialism, you come to know that she is certainly stronger for all she has endured by the end of her story. As of 2003 when first published, she was bravely pursuing charges against her mother in an effort to remove from her custody the quasi-/common law adopted daughter that she'd claimed as her next victim. I'm quite interested to know what became of that.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sharyl

    This is an amazing memoir, and I call it amazing because it never occurred to me that there were families such as Julie Gregory's. I'd heard of Munchausen by Proxy, but J. Gregory's family--not only her mother, but her father and grandparents--are all insane. Her family's lifestyle, while she was growing up, is so far out of the mainstream, that it's incredible that Julie Gregory grew up to be a functioning (and law-abiding)adult. It's a testiment to her strength and intelligence that Ms. Gregor This is an amazing memoir, and I call it amazing because it never occurred to me that there were families such as Julie Gregory's. I'd heard of Munchausen by Proxy, but J. Gregory's family--not only her mother, but her father and grandparents--are all insane. Her family's lifestyle, while she was growing up, is so far out of the mainstream, that it's incredible that Julie Gregory grew up to be a functioning (and law-abiding)adult. It's a testiment to her strength and intelligence that Ms. Gregory was able to gain such perspective about what happened during her childhood, and to seek emotional freedom from it. I highly recommend this book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tifani

    I'm not sure how to rate this book - it is tough to read this level of abuse. There is also some terrible language, with the author quoting things her mother said. I can't even imagine. I am glad I read this instead of listening to an audio book so I could skim through parts that were too hard to read. I wish there had been some advice on how to prevent this from happening in the future - but the author is the victim, not an expert, and I don't think providing advice is her role. I also found th I'm not sure how to rate this book - it is tough to read this level of abuse. There is also some terrible language, with the author quoting things her mother said. I can't even imagine. I am glad I read this instead of listening to an audio book so I could skim through parts that were too hard to read. I wish there had been some advice on how to prevent this from happening in the future - but the author is the victim, not an expert, and I don't think providing advice is her role. I also found the writing style difficult - a lot of adjectives and adverbs, and it was hard to follow a timeline. I got confused about what happened when.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline Wheeler

    I picked up this book because I was super intrigued by it being about Munchausen by proxy, and because it was a memoir. This was a really depressing and disturbing book - Definitely look up trigger warnings for it. Even though the content was interesting, I still feel like it could have been written better to keep the reader more engaged. I also was turned off by the racist and homophobic full page comments and dialogue. You can watch my spoiler vlog here, for more comments: https://www.youtube. I picked up this book because I was super intrigued by it being about Munchausen by proxy, and because it was a memoir. This was a really depressing and disturbing book - Definitely look up trigger warnings for it. Even though the content was interesting, I still feel like it could have been written better to keep the reader more engaged. I also was turned off by the racist and homophobic full page comments and dialogue. You can watch my spoiler vlog here, for more comments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWpX8...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katie J

    This was another page turner. I simultaneously could not put it down while also wishing it would end due to all the trauma within the pages. I think this might be the most bizarre and terrifying recount of abuse I have read amongst my many memoirs.

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