Adult,  Memoir,  Nonfiction,  Reviews

Two Kinds of Decay – A memoir of illness that reaches the heart


Rating: 4 out of 5.

🌸 Title: The Two Kinds of Decay
🌸Author: Sarah Manguso
🌸Published: May 27th, 2008
🌸Genre: Adult, Memoir, Nonfiction
🌸Preview: Manguso tells us about the day she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease seven years ago up until now in beautiful prose.
🌸A no major spoilers review.

“All autoimmune diseases invoke the metaphor of suicide. The body destroys itself from the inside.”

-Sarah Manguso, The Two Kinds of Decay

Sarah Manguso is a twenty-one-year-old when she’s suddenly diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Paralyzed for weeks at a time, going through depression, struggling with adulthood, and much more, Manguso tells us her story of her illness.

As a fellow person with chronic illnesses, I felt The Two Kinds of Decay in my soul.

As someone with chronic illnesses, I truly did understand Manguso’s feelings and recounts of her life over the past seven years. She goes through highs, lows, and so many things in between, and honestly, I loved it because it was relatable.

I loved it because everything felt real. I loved it because even if she did not often mention her own emotions, if you read closely enough between the lines, you can feel her rage, her despair, and in the end, her contentment.

Manguso talks about many things very clinically, often avoiding the emotions of the situation. Many reviewers, I noticed, mentioned the author’s emotionless state and how it seemed more like a retelling of what happened to her without the emotions.

In my eyes, that’s why this memoir was so realistic.

She waited so many years to tell us, even saying “I waited seven years to forget just enough…” and I took that in my own way: she wanted to emotionally detach herself from the situation. She wanted to forget those emotions.

I can only assume this because this is something that I have done myself regarding my own initial years of being diagnosed. And even in just describing these things happening, how can you not detach yourself from them, even at the moment?

It’s hard for people to understand this, and I get that. But sometimes, that’s just how we cope. This isn’t me speaking for Manguso by the way: this is just my own interpretation.

Now, that’s not saying The Two Kinds of Decay was well-written.

The plot jumped around, especially at the end, and I became extremely confused with the years and the time events happened for a hot minute. Disorientating, I found myself struggling to realize where we were in time at many moments, but I managed to chug along.

But I still think it was a very realistic point of view of someone going through something very tragic and scary but ultimately coming out on the brighter side. I am extremely happy that I had to read for my class; The Two Kinds of Decay was one of my top January reads for sure.

Like this review? Check out my other reviews on my blog here.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: