I can’t fathom being 16 and stuck living in a sanatorium with tuberculosis. Marilyn Barnes lived this reality in the 1940’s, during WWII. Marilyn lived with having different treatments and having strict bed rest. Getting letters from family and friends kept her spirits up and the different roommates she had throughout her stay at Ah-Gwanghwamun-ching State Sanatorium in MN. The Girl In Building C is the collection of her letters and photos from her three year stint at the sanatorium.
Only select activities were allowed. Marilyn’s life mainly consisted of reading, naps, and writing letters. She was only allowed certain privileges till her tests came back negative for tuberculosis and even then it was baby steps to doing normal things like going to the restroom. I love resting, napping and reading in bed, but what would my view be of it if that was my life for 3 years? Can you fathom not being allowed outside for months, or to even just walk around in the building? I always thought that expressions from the 50’s was a tad exaggerated in movies, but Marilyn’s hearty use of words and/or expressions like: swell, kids, gee, folks was fascinating. I didn’t realize those were from the 1940’s.
This book was educational. The procedures and surgeries that Marilyn endured boggle my mind. The mid 1940’s was not that long ago. Can you imagine having ribs removed?
This review is for an ARC of The Girl In Building C edited by Mary Krugerud from Edelweiss Plus care of the Minnesota Historical Society Press and is my unbiased, honest opinion. If you enjoy reading nonfiction that is in letter format you won’t be able to put this book down. If you enjoy researching different ailments then this book is a must read, though if you tend to be a hypochondriac or a vivid imagination then I might caution you.
Memoirs are my favorite genre to read. When I was asked if I wanted to review My Glory Was I Had Such Friends I said, “Yes,” without even reading what the memoir was about. As long as it’s a memoir I’m down for reading it. When I got my ARC copy in the mail the hummingbirds on the cover stood out to me in their different colors. Now that I finished reading Amy’s story I know the symbolism behind the hummingbirds.
Amy’s memoir takes you on a front seat tour of what life is like living with a heart transplant and realizing it’s time for needing a new one. Her descriptions of procedures are not for the squeamish, but are important to fully understand what her life and many other’s lives are like who have a donor’s heart. Amy is candid, funny, grumpy and strong-willed. She will make you laugh and cry throughout this gem of a book.
This book is not only about Amy, but about her assortment of close girlfriends who rally around her to help her out while she is staying in the hospital waiting for a second heart transplant. The one she’s had since age 25 is waving its white flag now that she’s 50. That feat in and of its self is a miracle. Each of Amy’s close girlfriends are depicted in all their uniqueness, quirks and all. One of her best friends puts together a spreadsheet of whose coming to stay with Amy when and each time someone stays they email the circle of friends to update them on Amy.
I received an ARC copy of My Glory Was I Had Such Friends courtesy of TLC Book Tours to review and give my honest assessment. This book shows how friendships change through the years, but close friends are vital to our lives. It’s sad to me that superficial friends seem to be the norm. I don’t know how many girlfriends in my life would do what Amy’s friends did for a weeks and sometimes weeks at a time. These women had their own families and obligations, but they made Amy their priority even when it wasn’t easy or pretty. May we all have the depth of friendship Amy is blessed with. Thank you for blessing me with your memoir. To get your copy click here to purchase from HarperCollins.