Idea: The author behind this memoir relays her journeys through alternative health options and across various countries. Gallagher may not arrive at discernible, long-ranging tranquility or excellent health, but she finds workable remedies. Most significantly, she realistically conveys how taking time to notice and observe one's surroundings, is healing in itself.
Prose: Gallagher's prose is straightforward and the story unfolds smoothly and chronologically. The author carefully details the holistic treatments and world destinations she encounters on her path to healing and wellness.
Originality: This memoir explores a woman's self-healing journey into emotional and geographic areas. Gallagher offers kernels of wisdom and insight throughout, but the memoir is ultimately highly personal in nature. Though many contemporary memoirs are written on related topics, Gallagher’s work is somewhat refreshing; her spiritual healing process is subtle and slow to unfold, rather than abruptly cathartic.
Execution: The author's descriptions of physical aches and pains are vividly conveyed and relatable, but her emotional interiority--particularly in response to life-changing circumstances such as divorce--is somewhat underdeveloped.
Date Submitted: October 03, 2019
Brigid Gallagher's Watching the Daisies (2017) is the soul-baring experience as an active, hard-charging woman's life is turned upside down by a disease she doesn't know how she contracted, has no cure, and only gets worse the longer you live. Gallagher starts her story with her completely normal childhood in Scotland as the daughter of loving parents who raise their family to be moral, ethical, and self-responsible. We see Gallagher's everyday life in school, with her family, and in daily activities, as she grows into a productive and successful adult, made more poignant by knowing what was coming in her future. As luck would have it, maybe even before the first hint that her body carried this nasty disease, she develops a passion for alternative methods of healing. I was fascinated to read the depth of knowledge required for her to be considered capable of serving in this new career. In the midst of her success in this important field, a panoply of misdiagnosed physical ailments prevent her from working (not uncommon for this horrid disease). Gallagher's disease is finally diagnosed correctly but that's the only good news. Fibromyalgia is a life-long disease where treatment can improve quality of life but never cure it.
In all of this, Gallagher shares her insights, her experiences, steps she took to try to resolve her physical problems, ranging from drugs and medicine to diet and exercise. She ends the book with her top tips on self-healing illnesses.
This book is highly recommended for anyone with any chronic disease as a real-life example of how to live through it with grace and a positive attitude.