Christine Doyle

Christine Doyle Takes the Pulse of Three Medical Memoirs

The Shaking Woman, or A History of My Nerves

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Sceptre 213pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

The Woman Who Thought Too Much: A Memoir

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Atlantic Books 336pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Eating Pomegranates: A Memoir of Mothers, Daughters and Genes

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Jonathan Cape 308pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Memoirs by those with painful experiences of mental or physical illness form an established and rapidly expanding genre. All three books under review have striking, perhaps faintly absurd, titles but they are all well written, spiked with wit, and thoroughly researched. Emotions are described with touching honesty. Siri Hustvedt’s The Shaking Woman, or A History of My Nerves is the most wide-ranging and academic as she moves through the history of neurology, psychology, pharmacology and psychiatry in her search for all possible explanations for the shaking woman she has become. She asks: ‘Who and what is she?’ 

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