I’m not a very emotional person, but Sarah Manguso picked up my emotions like a plastic sack of eggs and threw them against a brick wall. Reading this wonderful memoir, “Two Kinds of Decay,” (5 stars, btw) was a decision that would result in me crying (not literally, but I would have if I had an ounce of emotions) because it reminded me why I love reading so damn much.
While keeping her distance from an obviously horrendous and traumatic experience, Manguso tells an honest, quick paced, truthful, and emotional story of her life and the disease that interrupted it. At a young age, Manguso was hospitalized with chronic idiopathic demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP), a persistent form of Guillain-Barré syndrome: an autoimmune disease that attacks the nervous system, causing spreading numbness and paralysis. If the disease wasn’t treated regularly with her blood being cycled, removing the bad blood (or plasma) with new, fresh, and clean blood, than it would have spread to her lungs and suffocated her. Instead, she was left with this half hearted, poor excuse for a ‘treatment,’ which really just left her in the hospital, often paralyzed, and unable to live a normal life.