The True Story of A Lost Childhood

Book - 2004
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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." She checks her teeth for lipstick and, as the doctor enters, shoots the girl a warning glance. This child will not ruin her plans.


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 na#65533;vet#65533; 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.

From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Bantam Books, 2004, c2003
ISBN: 9780553381979
Branch Call Number: 616 .8582 GRE
Characteristics: ix, 244 p., [8] p. of plates :,ill., ports ;,21 cm
Additional Contributors: Feldman, Marc D., M. D.


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CRRL_MegRaymond Nov 10, 2017

Gregory grew up a sickly child, constantly seeing doctors and enduring medical procedures and surgeries. It turns out that she was actually a normal, healthy child - but her mother was sick.

Jun 27, 2017

Horrifying to read; I can't imagine having to survive all that. I admire the author's strength and am still depressed knowing this kind of abuse still happens.

May 26, 2014

This was a great book! The author used lots of descriptive detail to draw you in. The storyline was very realistic, and the addition of the actual medical files was very fascinating.

Feb 03, 2013

The Author of this book seems to only skim across the incidents that happened to her growing up without really going deeply into them. I feel as though she could have brought the reader in deeper to really share in her experiences. There are certain times through the book where she seems to jump around and I find myself stopping to go back and see if I missed something, although I had not.

Nov 12, 2012

This book was so sad. It's difficult for me to imagine a mother that's capable of treating not only her children in a horrific manner, but others who come to share the Gregory household. And the mother never was caught or questioned. I wondered how the people can do such things to others, and sleep at night. Utterly incomprehensible to me!! To me, in the cases I've read about concerning child abuse, Dave Pelzer and Julie Gregory are tied for first place as worst cases of child abuse. And worst cases of authorities, be it teachers, principals, medical personnel, for letting Julie and Dave slip through the cracks. And, yes, even family members, who turned a blind eye or looked the other way while this continued day after day.

Nov 08, 2007

Interesting. She writes like a poet.

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GSPLNadia Mar 31, 2015

GSPLNadia thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

May 26, 2014

AKWhenham thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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