Book Review: Who Lives, Who Dies With Kidney Disease

Who Lives, Who Dies with Kidney Disease by [Akmal, Mohammad, Raghavan, Vasundhara]

So a couple months after my diagnosis after nearly exhausting my web searches for kidney disease, I finally remembered to branch out and being something of an avid reader decided to track down some Kidney Disease themed books. To my surprise and disappointment, there isn’t a whole lot out there.

One of the books I did find I decided to take a chance on. It’s titled Who Lives and Who Dies With Kidney Disease by Mohammad Akmal and Vasundhara Raghavan.

Note, I got the Barnes and Noble ebook edition. I’m going to assume that the Amazon version linked to here has the same features (and faults) as the one I read.

The majority of this book takes a unique approach in that it focuses not so much on kidney disease in medical/scientific terms but more on how the disease impacts patients in different ways. We are introduced to real life people, some who had their stories end triumphantly while others weren’t so lucky. We are taken into these peoples lives and experience the roller-coaster of emotions while they wait for transplants, deal with dialysis, and cope the numerous challenges that bog them down along the way. This section of the book has the potential to really pull you into the lives of these patients but it does fall short as I’ll expand on shortly.

The second part of the book is a more academic/medical overview of kidney disease and the various diseases that lead to it with contributions by some of the subjects in the book. It’s not a bad addition but it felt tacked on somewhat.

Now for the negative, and this is significant. While I appreciated the approach to the writing, there were problems that took away from the experience.

First off, it may be that English is not the primary language of the authors and this book may have even been translated from another language. That is understandable, but unfortunately this book is in bad need of an editor. The number grammatical errors, typos, and other inconsistencies is really hard to overcome in this book. It got to the point where it was distracting. There was even a point where they referenced the name of a person who was not previously brought up at all in the story so I found myself swiping back to the beginning to see if I just missed this person showing up. I expect the wrong name was put in or he was referenced in an initial version but deleted out somewhere along the way.

This may be a self-published work which might explain the lack of thorough editing, but anytime you have to power through book it’s not a good sign. I forced myself to finish it because I was honestly intrigued by reading the stories of other patients, but it became a chore and struggle to do so and I could not wait to be done with it.

Ideally future reprints would include better editing and maybe even leave out the last part of the book (and perhaps use that as a basis for a second book), and add a few more patient stories with perhaps an update on the patients from the original. The concept is great, but the execution was a letdown and makes it hard for me to recommend.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?

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