Most of the time when a new book from an endocrinologist is published, it's in a very prescriptive tone, as in "This is what you should do to achieve optimal disease management." Very rarely are they written with the intention of showing the emotional challenges of life with diabetes from the patient's perspective. That's why the premise of the book, A Life of Control, was so interesting. Released last fall, the book is edited by endocrinologist Dr. Alan Graber, and co-authored with Anne W. Brown and Kathleen Wolff, certified diabetes nurse practitioners at the Vanderbilt Eskind Diabetes Center.

They share 40 stories about patients struggling to deal with the demanding tasks of managing diabetes. But while Dr. Graber has a good grasp on what makes a patient's story interesting, he falls short on delivering a meaningful experience. Reading it was actually kind of like visiting an endo in person: you have all this stuff you want to share with them, but you only get five minutes.

The stories are fascinating and despite being as involved in the D-community as I am, there are still people whose stories impress and amaze me — like the one about Rosa, a nurse with type 1 diabetes who admits to not taking her insulin in order to lose weight. A nurse with diabulimia? Who'duv thunk? And then there's Cliff, a parolee charged with homicie who dealt with diabetes and AIDS. Wow. There were also more familiar stories, like the teenager who landed in the hospital with DKA every year until she ended up in a coma for a full day. Or the mom who had to deal with diabetes while pregnant, worrying incessantly about her diabetes. And finally, Peter, the son-in-law of the author, whose take-charge attitude was refreshing compared to many of the other stories of hopelessness and denial.  But even Peter admits to the challenges and guilt that haunted him.

However, the format of this book is a bit awkward. The stories are short. And I mean short. The average length is two and a half pages. The longest is about five pages and includes a photo. Almost all are lacking pictures, which makes for a very text-heavy book.

On one hand, it's nice to be able to read the experience of a wide variety of folks, diagnosed at all ages and having different backgrounds, careers, families, etc. But the stories are simplified and abrupt. For instance, the mention of Cliff's AIDS was in the very end of his story — and then it just stops. I was definitely left wanting more. That wasn't the case with all of them, but it happened more often than not.

Experts Dr. Steve Edelman and Dr. Bill Polonsky share positive comments in their reviews of this book: Dr. Polonsky says, "In these touching stories, you will hear real-life tales that are funny, sad, life-affirming, aggravating and more. Read this and realize that you are not alone."

All in all, while it was a good read, I felt the book was poorly executed in the editing department. Dr. Graber had transcribed interviews with the folks he features and offers occasional quotes, but instead of offering first-person narrative, he tells the story for them. It still felt as if the doctor was in charge of what I should know.

These days with the very active DOC, you don't necessarily need to read a book to realize that you're not alone.  Still, many of these stories are written by people who are perhaps not as inclined to join the "kumbaya, rah-rah, group hug" atmosphere that the DOC is known for. So if you or someone you know is struggling to find camaraderie during a particularly troubling time with their diabetes, this might be a perfect gift.

{Vanderbilt University Press, Sept. 2010, $19.95 on}



* ALL-NEW: The 'Mine Book Giveaway *

Since we receive all kinds of D-related books to review at here at the 'Mine, we thought that, moving forward, we would start sharing the love and giving away copies to you all, our loyal readers. So if you're interested in winning a free copy of the books we review from here on out, it's as easy as leaving a comment!

Here's how it works:


1. Post your comment below and include the codeword "DMBooks" somewhere in the comment (beginning, end, in parenthesis, in bold, whatever). That will let us know that you would like to be entered in the giveaway. You can still leave a comment without entering, but if you want to be considered to win the book, please remember to include "DMBooks."



2. This week, you have until Friday, April 8, at noon PST to enter.



3. The winner will be announced on Facebook and Twitter on Monday, April 11, so make sure you're following us! We will also contact the winner personally by email, so a valid email address is required.



4. The contest is open to anyone on the planet.


Good luck, Dear Readers!


Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.