1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $31.50

Buy for $31.50

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

"A best memoir of 2020" (BookPage)

The darkly funny memoir of Sarah Ramey’s years-long battle with a mysterious illness that doctors thought was all in her head - but wasn’t. A revelation and an inspiration for millions of women whose legitimate health complaints are ignored.

In her harrowing, defiant, and unforgettable memoir, Sarah Ramey recounts the decade-long saga of how a seemingly minor illness in her senior year of college turned into a prolonged and elusive condition that destroyed her health but that doctors couldn't diagnose or treat. Worse, as they failed to cure her, they hinted that her devastating symptoms were psychological.

The Lady's Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness is a memoir with a mission: to help the millions of (mostly) women who suffer from unnamed or misunderstood conditions - autoimmune illnesses, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic Lyme disease, chronic pain, and many more. Ramey's pursuit of a diagnosis and cure for her own mysterious illness becomes a pause-resisting medical mystery that reveals a new understanding of today's chronic illnesses as ecological in nature, driven by modern changes to the basic foundations of health, from the quality of our sleep, diet, and social connections to the state of our microbiomes. Her book will open eyes, change lives, and, ultimately, change medicine.

©2020 Sarah Ramey (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Sarah Ramey’s candor in discussing more than a decade of pain, confusion, and dismissal by countless doctors is matched by compassion for herself and every woman who has been told that her symptoms are only in her head, even when she knows her body is screaming. This is a book for anyone who has ever asked a question that didn’t have an immediate or easy answer, anyone who has worried about themselves or a loved one who isn’t getting better - despite following all the experts’ advice - and anyone interested in their own health, public health, or medicine. In other words, it’s a book with something resonant and useful for all of us. It’s also, not incidentally, a terrific read." (Chelsea Clinton, co-author of The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience)

"Sarah Ramey is a person of uncommon wit, bravery, compassion, honesty, and intellect. Every one of those qualities is on full display in this unflinching, important, and stunningly written memoir, which gives voice to millions of women whose experiences and pain have been ignored and minimized." (Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life)

"With brilliant storytelling, Sarah Ramey tells of her experience with a mysterious illness while weaving in a practical roadmap for the woman who is overwhelmed, confused, depressed, desperate, and suffering with confusing symptoms. As she undertakes her heroine’s journey through her relationship with her body, she reclaims her power and comes home to herself - because in the end, it’s getting back into our bodies that allows us to become free. A masterwork and a page-turning, fantastic read." (Alisa Vitti, author of In the FLO and founder of FLO Living)

More from the same

What listeners say about The Lady's Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    106
  • 4 Stars
    18
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    2
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    99
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    92
  • 4 Stars
    14
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    3

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

💯 a valuable use of your money AND time. 💯

This story was not at all "too long" and the so-called "agenda" (referenced by the extremely short and negative review below) is simply a call to action for moving quickly to improve public health. Angry? Read the story and see if you blame her for that and even then, she's not angry the whole time. That said, what's wrong with being angry unless you have an agenda yourself that women should pretend to be OK when they have been victimized by a surgeon's incompetent communication with the referring doctor? The reviewer below himself has an agenda which, at best, is to listen quickly and move on and, at worst, he has no empathy or compassion for what Sarah Ramey went through. No word in this book was wasted. I felt compelled to listen to all of it within a day of purchase and it is by far one of the most important books of this era, particularly now that we're all living through COVID-19, and people with auto-immune diseases are being devastated by this disease.

This story is valuable on multiple levels. For me, personal. For my daughter who wants to be a doctor and a mom: personal and professional. It's for anyone who cares about the quality of life in our country. It's also a compelling medical mystery and an intense memoir of a young woman's decade through a mystery illness that could have been easily solved had her doctors simply listened to her with a simple request. The misogyny and blatant indifference to her suffering is astounding and painful - and this period is 2004-2014.

Memoir and call to action, gripping and harrowing, leavened by a warm humanity, compassion, empathy, intelligence, and wit. Yes, there are some f-bombs, and yes, there is some anger but it is righteous and not melodramatic nor overdone.

I could not stop listening. It's by turns a medical mystery, and then a memoir of "the healing journey" that is never saccharine or manipulative but authentic and real. I'm going to insist that my daughter, pre-med and a victim of modern life's expediencies and sacrifices, listen to this work. I hope she will take it to heart because I know it will lead her to a better quality of life especially as one who wants to pursue the challenging road of medical school as well as have children. She will be a better doctor and mother after reading this.

The author reads the first and last chapters so the narrator for the main body is different but a near approximation of the author's voice and she is EXCELLENT. Chapters 16 and 17 as well as another chapter describe especially harrowing events from the author's first person POV but the narrator handled the job with such care and finesse. She also read other parts more spiritedly when it was appropriate. Absolutely well-done. It must have been extremely difficult for her to read as it was for me to listen to but I am SO glad I did. SO not a waste of time as per that negative reviewer whose extremely abbreviated review offered no substance.

This book is not only for women - it will also speak to highly sensitive people and orchid children. Anyone who has come of age in our country in the last fifty years has been exposed to the health stressors described by the author - male or female, but it's a majority of women who suffer with "mysterious illnesses" often for the discouraging reason that many medical doctors still do not listen to women. If they can't solve it immediately, they refer them on to another or prescribe an antidepressant. I'm not against antidepressants at all, btw, nor is the author.

This is a hugely important book and I hope it's one of many other developments toward Improved health of American people. God bless Sarah Ramey for "embracing Hades" and for returning to share the lessons with us. God bless us all. The nature of modern life is shortening our lives and Sarah's story will be a dark journey but I came away from it with chills at the final sentence and a boosted sense of morale to be, like a recent hero, "the one who lives."

28 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Most important health book of the century

This book trumps all the self help and health and women and gender studies books. A perfect book to ask friends and family to read to understand how to support their WOMI. Make this into a major motion picture!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Never has a book made me feel so understood.

This book had me speaking out loud in agreement, empathetic frustration, and sympathetic sorrow. If you or someone you love suffers from chronic and/or mysterious illness, then read this book. It’s a good look into what’s wrong with western medicine as we know it, as well as how we can work together to make it right.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A must read

There is nothing more powerful or potent than a personal testimony of the dark hopelessness of sickness, and the persistent and unbreakable spirit that fights for life and healing. Yes, it will make you uncomfortable hearing the author be broken again and again. But we need to feel that discomfort. Deeply. THIS book is the answer for so many of the current woes in medicine, politics, religion, climate change, social inequity, the family structure, and the brokenness that lies in all our souls and bodies. If only every human alive would stick with every word, all the way to the end. Powerful.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Important read!

A truly harrowing tale of repeated failures of traditional medicine, that many will relate to. Ends with some helpful information and a glimmer of hope amid somber reality.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

INCREDIBLE must-read book for everyone

This book and the narration are amazing. I highly recommend the audiobook for the extra meaning conveyed that isn't possible with text alone. At times it is uncomfortable to read about the things that happened to the author, but it is vital for fully understanding the valuable information she portrays. As a scientific researcher, I hope to carry these many lessons with me in my own toxicology research so I can do my part to reduce the levels of environmental stressors and hopefully help lesson how many people develop illness such as this. Additionally, I am a Woman of Mysterious Illness myself, and this book gave me beautiful vindication about my own experiences that I have been lacking and sorely needing for many years. Sarah Ramey, THANK YOU! This book has changed my life.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Life Saver

I believe every woman that reads or listens to this book will be inspired to make certain she receives respect from her doctors. As a person who has had fibromyalgia for 40 years after a botched hysterectomy ( that I did not need). This was 15 years before the malady had a name. I was dismissed, disregarded, and wrongly treated by the doctors. So I went to alternative healers , most of whom promised a cure and when the cure didn’t happen, grew angry and mean towards me. Sarah had it a lot worse than I ever did. Her perseverance is inspiring but her demanding to be believed and to set her own treatment plan in the face of so much resistance is what I will take with me for the rest of my life. I am grateful for this book and its author.’

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • df
  • 05-11-20

Don’t waste your time

Boring. I don’t recommend. Too long. Too much anger. Pushing an agenda. Don’t waste your money.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not actually a handbook.

Author should have made this a memoir only and titled it as such. Her personal experience is interesting and informative, to a point, and could be a great emotional booster for other women like her. However the author proceeds to universalize her experience with her illness when giving advice to others. This becomes grating since the book lacks awareness of intersectionality, classism, or racism, choosing instead to pay lip service to those things without really addressing how they factor into the medical experience of people with mysterious illnesses who aren't just like her. The book also dives into a heavy dose of gender essentialism as the author grapples with her internalized misogyny and again assumes her experience of femininity and it's associated cultural aspects are universal rather than heavily cultural, proceeding to then give medical advice from this essentialist place. There's also some exoticism regarding other countries' and eastern medical practice where the author references these but never really engages with them. Dubious medical advice throughout. Should not be read for actual advice.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

difficult, exhausting, and so very important

I listened to this on behalf of my friends, so many who have mysterious illnesses, so that I could be a better friend to them. it was so hard to listen to, but not nearly as hard as living even one day in their shoes. and I emerge as hopefully a better friend to them, and definitely a better friend to me. Thank you Sarah for your gift to the world. may it begin a much needed healing.