Sunday, November 15, 2009


"Against Medical Advice." I just finished James Patterson's book - co-authored with Hal Friedman - about Mr. Friedman's son, Cory, who spent many agonizing years trying to cope with OCD and Tourette's Syndrome. Although it was a good [not great, slightly better than okay, and not bad] story, it was disappointing as a book. Story wise, I'd give it a 6 out of 10; book wise, I'd give it a 3.

Surely it was because James Patterson's name was so familiar that prompted me to pick the book up on the shelf to begin with... I can't tell you exactly what it was about the book that made me actually purchase it. I know that no one ever actually recommended the book to me - and although I would not discourage anyone from reading it - I wouldn't recommend it, either. The dust jacket tells the entire story and unless you want to read a memoir about the details of OCD and Tourette's Syndrome - skip it. Just read the dust jacket. I am not attempting to minimize what Cory went through or his parents and sister, there is just nothing earth-shattering about his story. Cory is "fine" now, with relatively minimal symptoms of the two illnesses or diseases from which he was originally diagnosed.

First of all, it was 267 pages of mostly "white" instead of "black." In other words, it was more paper than ink. Of those 267 pages - only 99 of them contained a full 30 lines of print. 30 lines. [The book I am reading now - smaller print - 37 lines per page.] 24 pages were totally blank. Just white "filler." Of the 130-something "half" pages - I am being generous by calling them "half" pages - 20 of them had eight or less lines of type. This book could have been done in a hundred pages or so. It is a very, very quick read.

I wish I would have taken the time to read some of the reviews from Amazon before actually buying the book, myself:

Do not buy this book. I thought I would learn more about Tourette's Syndrome. I learned so little. I was left wanting so much more. Shame on Patterson for exploiting this true story for his personal gain. A missed opportunity to raise awareness and better understanding of this horrible condition. Such a superficial read when I was looking for something more substantial. Very repetitive to the point of tiresome. All of a sudden, Cory gets better. No real explanation for us to better understand this. It was as if it was time to complete the book. DONT WASTE YOUR MONEY.

As a Special Ed teacher, I was very excited to read this book. I am sad to say that I was quite disappointed in the book. First of all, I thought the layout was strange. There were 72 chapters and each chapter was one or two pages. Secondly, I thought the book lacked depth. I finished the book in two days, and I really felt I was left without much of the story. Although I don't want to ruin the ending, I thought it was also somewhat unbelievable.

Umm-hmm. My thoughts exactly. I took the time to count the pages - count how many half pages there were - and how many pages were completely blank. [Someone has just a little too much time on their hands.]

I read this book in about 4 hours,it is interesting and once you get started you do want to see how it turns out. But it is not a "keeper", just get it from the library.

You won't learn much about Tourettes, but you will learn a lot about the medical establishment's compulsion to prescribe medications and keep on prescribing regardless of the consequences.

It wasn't a bad book. I just wouldn't recommend it - unless someone was looking for a fast read about a young boy who suffers, along with his family, and then, in the end, mostly lives happily ever after. Again, not that I would discourage anyone from reading the book, I just finished it and said, "Umm-kay. Now to read something with a bit more substance."

Along with the not so good reviews over at Amazon, there are many, many good reviews of this book. To each his own.


  1. My son has Tourette Syndrome and I picked up the book hoping to connect with Cory and his family. While there were some similarities I found that much of it I couldn't relate to. I was happy to see that there was a book about Tourette's though. Any press we can get for TS that sheds light on what the condition is, is good.

  2. I do not disagree with you MM, that any press on TS is a good thing. Surely there has got to be a book out there, though, that is better that "AMA."

    Like I said, I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it - I just wouldn't recommend it, either. You, apparently, are not alone in your feeling that you couldn't relate to much of the book...

  3. I read this book a good while ago. I bought it because it was by one of my favorite authors. It was very different from his fiction novels, I was disappointed in the writing. The story of course was heartbreaking.

    Deborah F. Hamilton
    Right Truth


Site Meter