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You could say this is a novel about Hollywood and film making, about how it can make you a success as it did Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, who are featured in this novel, or it can chew you up and spit you out, as it did the fictional character of Beautiful Ruins, the aspiring actress Dee Moray.
I found this a very moving story of love and friendship, duty and trust, and two people who survive the greed for fame, fortune and reputation, whether in the film industry or in tourism. The title has multiple meanings, I think, referring to the beautiful but "ruined" Dee of the film industry, and the ruins of the WWII bunker she visits with Pasquale, which shows lasting beauty of another sort. I gave this 5 stars for the characterization, the plot, the writing, and the message. For the entire book. Go read it!
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book for a TLC Virtual Book Tour.
I usually don't write reviews, but this book has literally changed the lives of so many people in my family, I thought I'd at least have to thank Elaine for this book publicly.
My mother has had Crohn's disease since she was a little girl, but Doctors didn't know what was wrong with her until later. She'd literally drink gallons of anti-acids and over time, began to think that everyone just went around having a stomach ache and other "bathroom" problems...that was normal to her.
After having children, she had severe flare-ups that left her skeletal and hospitalized, fighting for her life. She went to a Naturapathic Doctor and he got her on a raw diet (free of processed flours or sugars, no meat, dairy, eggs or grains whatsoever). This healed her for the time being. She was able to maintain herself and go back to her regular eating habits carefully through having the next 5 children, but the last one, along with financial troubles and a death in the family left her stress levels frazzled, and made her immunity susceptible to the Crohn's. She went down to 100 lbs for her 5'8 frame and was too weak to walk. She tried to go back the raw diet, but it didn't help. Nothing did.
The Doctors told her she didn't have Crohn's (even though she'd been diagnosed numerous times previously that she did), but Ulcerative Colitis and that cutting out her large intestine would solve the problem. She finally gave in and got the surgery and had a J-Pouch made from her small intestine to work as a small colon, but the surgeon made mistakes...he left a small hole which seeped toxic waste into her abdominal cavity causing excruciating pain. She convinced them that this was not normal, since not even the highest morphine doses were helping subdue all the pain. They fixed it, but she would regularly pass little titanium staples and once they found the reason behind another extremely painful gut pain: there was a staple that hadn't been closed all the way and was ripping her with its sharp edges. The doctors gave her a 1% to 2% solution of Nitroglycerin (yes, that Nitroglycerin: to make bombs) for the "butt burn" which made things worse and had her on numerous medications to mask all of her symptoms. Steroids, blood thinners, opiates, Azacol (the "cure all"), and dermatologist prescriptions for her Pyoderma gangrenosum: this is where you get deep ulcers on the skin of your legs that start as hard lumped hot-spots and then erupt (sorry, pretty graphic). All the while, her doctors and dietitians have told her to eat whatever she wanted. She had no reason not to trust them, but her doctor actually told her just recently: "You have exhausted my knowledge base." So, basically he'd give her whatever she wanted just to shut her up because he could no longer help her and her constant pains and burning.
Happy Ending: A friend gave me the title to this book, I researched it and flew home to give it a go. They were tiresome of the "Cure-alls" that everyone was giving them. They tried Acupuncture, Homeopathy and herbs...you name it, they tried it. Why would this be any different? Because of the science behind it!
The first day, she showed improvement and burning started to subside to the point that she has been on the diet for 3 weeks now and has stopped taking all of her medications, which I don't know if I would recommend because it was really hard for her and it might've been better to stay on the drugs and get better at the same time. But she couldn't tell if the diet was working or not past a certain point because she wasn't sure if the pain was being masked by the drugs. She was already trying to detox off Oxycontin when she started the SCD, but was sick of the withdrawals, so stopped cold turkey to get it out of her system.
Currently her burning and pain levels are at a "1" and "2", 10 being the worst pain, and is off all medications. She now has only a small amount of pain in a specific spot (the doctor says it looks like a bruise and offered to just kill the nerve endings there...of course we said no! Come on, is there any holistic view here at all folks?) and though she was had a hard time with energy, she is getting stronger day by day! I share her entire story in case someone with similar experiences is searching for the answer because we couldn't find anyone who had a J-Pouch AND Crohn's!
Perhaps someday she can transition into more raw foods for the concentration of energy and nutrients or at least juicing, since she has no large intestine, but for now, "Breaking the Vicious Cycle" has saved her life along with my family's. She still has kids living at home that she can be a Mom to now: a 6 yr-old, a 10 yr-old, and a 16 yr-old. This has truly been a blessing.
Fast forward a few years after beginning this diet that was extremely hard to follow when you're sick. My mom had found relief for that burning spot that was left by taking a high dose probiotic but even so her food intake was so low and limited due to her violent reactions to most foods, that she couldn't gain any weight and got down to 100lbs on her 5'8" frame which was skeletal. She finally gave into getting her j-pouch removed. Her new surgeon told her that j-pouches often are cancer-causing and that rarely do they find any patients that keep them. Now that she's had the surgery she's able to more foods like yogurt, green smoothies, and bread.
Recently, we've discovered neurologist and neurosurgeon Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride's Gut And Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) book which has its foundations in Elaine's SCD book, but is expanded and focuses on the brain-gut reaction with regards to mental illness and autism and is finding great success in treating these long with digestive disorders as "all disease begins in the gut." I wish we would've known about her research before the surgery but I'm actually using it myself for my various health issues and its working its magic - check out her research, it just might save your life! Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia
I am obsessed with and absolutely adore this book! I came across an advertisement for it in a magazine and immediately went to Susan Branch's website to learn more about her. I am a new and devoted fan! I ordered the book from Amazon and read it within 2 days! I couldn't put it down! I have been dreaming about going to England since I was a little girl and next year my husband and I are planning a trip there! After reading Susan's book, I feel like I have already been! It is captivating and beautifully handwritten and illustrated. The photographs are amazing and it has given me so many ideas for our trip! I will definitely be using this book to help with our travel plans!I have already ordered another copy to give to my mom! Thank you, Susan and Joe, for sharing your amazing trip with the rest of the world! A forever fan, Virginia W. in North Carolina
I ordered via phone in response to the infomercial. Took a while to get here, but nice piece of cookware. Heavy, solid, cleans up with a damp washcloth. We've used it almost daily for the past few weeks. Would be interested in having more, but stories about the company's sales tactics scare me off.
Very easy assembly and installation, very well made. Already have noticed 1-2 mpg increase (still with a conservative foot). Noticed more power and get-up-and-go. Engine breathes much better, you can hear this intake suck air in when you stomp on the gas. The exhaust sound remains quiet, until you step on the gas. Overall, very happy and would recommend to anyone.