Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale

Huntington's Disease (HD) is an awful disease to live through, even if the person living it is not experiencing the symptoms. Just ask Rosie. Her mother, Trudie, was diagnosed with HD and became her mothers caretaker toward the last few months of her life.

When Rosie's mother passed away from HD, Rosie decided that she was going to take the test to determine if she has HD as well - seeing as the disease is hereditary and she had a 50% chance of having HD too.

Before she got to the test, though, a friend of the family, Sarah, who was also Rosie's mothers midwife when Rosie was born, told her some startling news: Trudie was not Rosie's biological mother.

When Trudie went into labor, she had already been through numerous miscarriages, hoping to have a son or daughter in her arms. Trudie didn't know she had HD at the time, so she wasn't worried about giving her child the disease.

On the night of her daughter's birth, though, Trudie's husband died in a car crash, leaving Trudie in a vulnerable state. Sarah, desperate to make things better, heard that a 17 year old in the hospital abandoned her baby girl for adoption.

Sarah swapped the baby girls, so that Trudie will have the healthier, abandoned baby instead of the little girl she just delivered, who was on air support and was premature.

When Rosie heard that Trudie was not her true mother, she decided that she wanted to find out who she really was. After finding out that she was a movie star in America, Rosie left with her ex-boyfriend Andy from England to meet her real mother.

After a horrible reunion, though, Rosie feels lost and alone, not knowing where to go or where she belongs. With the help of Andy, Rosie was able to find her biological father.

But what she finds there will make her rethink her whole life and question everything that she was every told.

My Thoughts/Reflections
Wow. The book descriptions last words are true:

"Readers will be gripped by this trilling emotional roller-coaster ride as a web of family secrets is ripped apart, profoundly affecting lives on both sides of the Atlantic."

Rosie has had a horrible time in the last 18 months as her mother is diagnosed with Huntington's Disease and she had to see her mother become a lesser part of herself - against her will.

Then the realization that Trudie wasn't even her real mother sent her off the edge and left Rosie asking more questions than knowing the answers.

Being haunted by the fact that she could have the same disease that killed her mother was a pit in Rosie's stomache, but then finding out that she wasn't at risk at all because they had different DNA didn't make Rosie feel better - it made her feel worse.

This was an amazing, heartbreaking, suspenseful, and complicated book. I loved every minute of it.

The author, Katie Dale, did an amazing job talking about Huntington's Disease and how if affects not only the one who's diagnosed, but everyone whose life connects with the patient. I didn't know much about it, but I was able to understand after reading this novel.

I would definitely recommend this book to others. It's a tough subject, HD, especially if the reader has had a friend or family member diagnosed with it. The author doesn't say awful things about it, though. Rather, she goes through the steps of how to handle it, during and after the disease.

Reading Rosie's story was, as the author said, "a roller-coaster, [emotions] ripped apart". This is not a light, fun hearted story. This can very well be happening to people around you and it will make you think about things on a different level.

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