Strong at the Broken Places: Voices of Illness, a Chorus of Hope
by Richard M. Cohen
Publisher: Harper Collins, 2008
In 2003 Cohen published Blindsided, a bestselling memoir of illness. The outpouring of support revealed to him that not only does the public want to hear from people who overcome the challenges of illness, but that in the isolated world of illness, there are people who want their voices to be heard. Strong at the Broken Places was born of the desire of many to share their stories in the hope that the sick and those who love them will see that they are not alone.
Cohen spent three years chronicling the lives of five diverse "citizens of sickness": Denise, who suffers from ALS; Buzz, whose Christian faith helps him deal with his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; Sarah, a determined young woman with Crohn's disease; Ben, a college student with muscular dystrophy; Larry, whose bipolar disorder is hidden within. The five are different in age and gender, race and economic status, but they are determined to live life on their own terms. Intimately involved with these patients' lives, Cohen formed intense relationships with each, talked to their families and friends, and shared joy, even in heart-breaking setbacks.
Though each individual's illness wreaks havoc in a different way, Cohen shows how their experiences are strikingly similar and offer lessons for us all—on self-determination, on courage in the face of adversity and public ignorance, on keeping hope alive, and on finding strength and peace under the most difficult of circumstances.
We are strong at the broken places, stronger than we think. In sharing these inspirational and revealing stories, Richard M. Cohen and his fellow warriors against illness offer a chorus of hope.