Cherie Kephart, a young woman who longed for adventure, traveled the world from the remote villages of Central Africa to the majestic coastlines of New Zealand until a mysterious illness thrust her to the precipice of death. The persistent health challenges led to years of suffering, during which her symptoms time and again were undiagnosed by well-meaning medical doctors and healers who were sometimes competent, sometimes careless, sometimes absurd, and always baffled. The anguish, the uncertainty, and the relentless pain would have caused many people to simply give up and end their lives—and Cherie came close. Told with brutal honesty, astonishing wit, and a haunting vulnerability, A Few Minor Adjustments is an unforgettable memoir that will move you with its fiercely inspirational account of one woman’s incredible journey to find life-saving answers. In the end, she finds much more than a diagnosis.
Kephart’s solid debut memoir is a story of gut-wrenching perseverance and determination. Kephart’s desire to help the less fortunate led her to a Peace Corps mission in Zambia in 1994 when she was 23. Within six months, she’d tested positive for malaria, had nearly died, and was forced to return to the U.S. For the next 17 years, she endured a multitude of perplexing symptoms, and despite these debilitating health problems and personal crises, Kephart continued to live her life on her own terms, moving to New Zealand in 1997 and completing a master’s degree in anthropology. Kephart’s account of her troubled health and the medical community’s inability to discover the underlying causes are eye-opening, particularly the attitudes of some of her doctors (one gives Kephart “looks like I’m wasting her time and there’s nothing wrong with me”). Her story shines when it focuses on her personal life and relationship with her boyfriend, who remains steadfast. The book falters when the prose veers toward melodrama (“I had no answers for my lost soul. My journal turned on me. Its once kind and hospitable pages were now evil, luring me in to my self-destructive thoughts and malicious mind”). This will resonate with readers who appreciate stories of overcoming adversity. (BookLife)