Ann Romney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1998. The doctors did not give her much hope. They told her that although her symptoms—including fatigue, weakness in one leg, and loss of balance—could be treated, fighting MS itself was almost impossible.
However, after meeting Dr. Howard Weiner of the MS Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, she regained some hope. Later on, she tried some alternative therapies, such as horse riding, reflexology, and acupuncture, which helped her. She went into remission.
Using her status as an influential figure, she helped set up the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and became its global ambassador.
This is the gist of Romney’s experiences of living with MS as recounted in this book. In some interviews, Romney has said that she meant this to be a book that would help others. She hoped to do that by being honest about how difficult it was, how it affected her life in every single way.
This is not an inspirational autobiography of an MS patient. Nor is it a political memoir. The book veers from anecdote to anecdote without any sense of chronology, which left me confused.
It reads like an image-building effort for team Romney and their life, especially since it takes unnecessary potshots at people with opposing views, including President Obama. The twelve-step survival plan at the end seems like a last-ditch effort to make the book appear like a serious read.
All in all, a disappointment, especially because I have been battling MS for 26 years and expected this to be an in-depth, sincere account of Romney’s MS-related experiences.