The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing, and the Science of Suffering - Melanie Thernstrom I just don't have it in me to write a proper review of this book. I can't do it objectively, and I'm not in the mood to rant. Not much of a ranter even in the worst of circumstances. If, like me, you're a chronic pain sufferer whose life has been defined and limited by your condition, you're not likely to find the book comforting or helpful. It's more likely to frustrate or anger you. If you are fortunate enough to be pain-free and want to study pain as a purely intellectual exercise, The Pain Chronicles may interest you. The author herself claims to be among those with real chronic pain, but it's clear from the way she writes so coldly and clinically about the subject that she only THINKS she knows what it's like. We who live with it as a permanent, unrelenting condition could never write a book like this. It would come across as a self-pitying, sympathy-grubbing whine festival. So, in the interest of fairness, because she was willing to write about pain studies, I can give Thernstrom two stars instead of one. Maybe the book will have some value in building a general understanding of pain and the various attempts to alleviate it. Just don't go into it looking for anything that will ease your own experience of pain. If you live with pain as a constant, unremitting companion, you don't want science. You want to know how can I make it go away, or at least let up, for an hour, or even a few minutes? For that, I recommend books and CDs teaching breathing techniques. Andrew Weil and Jon Kabat-Zinn are especially good. (How'd I do? All efforts to the contrary, this probably sounds like a self-pitying, sympathy-grubbing whine festival. Believe me, it coulda been MUCH worse.)