Cover Image: Cost of Living

Cost of Living

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Member Reviews

I appreciate the publisher allowing me to read this book. I found this book not to my taste but worth reading
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Wonderful collection of essays, with close attention to gender and class. Part of the emergent and wonderful new group of women essayists that are publishing ground breaking books now.
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Emily Maloney’s Cost of Living is a series of essays that, when taken as a whole, comprise an interesting memoir of the author’s intimate experience with America’s healthcare system. First as a patient, and then as a caregiver herself, Maloney offers a behind the scenes look that will be probably be disconcerting and scary to some readers while confirming the darkest fears of others who have had a little more experience with how the system works in this country.

For Emily Maloney, it all started when she tried to kill herself as a nineteen-year-old. Maloney’s attempt at taking her own life may have been unsuccessful, but it left her saddled with an enormous medical debt for treatment that she would struggle to pay off for years to come. The failed attempt also meant that Maloney would be seeing mental health doctors and taking a series of psychiatric drugs for years — treatments and drugs that sometimes seem to have done as much harm as good. Ironically enough, in order to pay off her past healthcare debts and to be able to continue affording her ongoing treatments, Maloney decided to work in the healthcare industry herself.

What she learned firsthand about billings and collections, hospitals, emergency rooms, medical staffs, and pharmaceutical companies is enough to make anyone uneasy about dealing with the system. Maloney’s essays do not paint a pretty picture. She speaks of patients and insurance companies being gouged by the purposeful uncharging of doctors and hospitals determined to maximize profits. She tells us about the burned out staffs so common to emergency rooms and the minimal level of care that most patients ever receive in them. She speaks to the indignities and dangers of being treated in a training hospital or emergency room. And using her own experiences with large pharmaceutical companies as background, she gives a thorough indictment of the waste and borderline illegal practices that make medicine so expensive to those who desperately need it for their survival. 

Bottom Line: Cost of Living certainly offers a bleak look at the US healthcare system. While what Emily Maloney has to say about the system will not come as a surprise to most people who have had to deal with major health problems of their own or those of family members, it will serve as a warning to other more fortunate readers who have yet experienced it all for themselves. It will open some eyes. Despite her shaky start in life, the author has achieved much, and it would be interesting to hear her story in a more traditionally constructed memoir that focuses on how she did it.
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I had no idea that medicine and our f*ck*ed up healthcare system could be made so accessible and personal. Reading about Emily's work as an ER tech, a student, and a patient gave a multifaceted view to things that often seem obscure and inaccessible. Highly recommend.
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I couldn't put this book down and read it over the course of a day. I was mostly interested in the author's history of suicide and in- and out-patient treatments. But as I read more, the viewpoint of a medical professional in tens of thousands of dollars in medical-related debt intrigued me even more. How billing is handled, the waste and upcharges, as well as how medical research is publicized by big pharma and how blackbox psych meds are reported on were touched on in terms those of us not in the field can understand and possibly relate to.

I enjoyed Maloney's honesty in writing about her history (family, medical and financial) and treatments, which will hopefully lead readers to think about and discuss the bigger picture questions like the cost of medical treatment and pay scale of those administering our care.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
These book of essays is quite interesting. The essays vary between view of being a patient and having to pay off medical debt as well as her experience dealing with psychiatrists and the cost of medications. On the flip side, she worked in various medical positions including the ER.
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I enjoyed these essays immensely. I saw myself in them, in the author’s health struggles, and in her frustration about the medical health field that more often than not has no real answers or solutions for patients in pain. As I read, I was eager to move from essay to essay to discover the meaningful ways the author has journeyed in her life as patient and health professional. It seems strange to me that a book that aims to reveal the apathy and failure of science can somehow make me feel better. I think it normalizes my own experience, and in doing so, it eases the pressure I place on myself to seek help, get well, be immune and invincible. 
	Maloney manages to take ego out of this—a feat that seems like it would impossible to achieve in a book of memoir essays. She reaches into that void of often well-intentioned but mostly misguided therapists and doctors to deliver a book that seems almost like a letter of condolence, a manual of trust—lest we dare venture into the world seeking true panaceas for our pain. 
	As a reader, I loved this book for its easy style and ability to take me a bit deeper into the realm of sickness and health, into the truth of the matter, which is that wellness may be more of a pipe dream than we are willing to admit. Her straightforward tone contains a layer of sorrow, a shield, perhaps, that each of us must wield if we are ever going to try to search for answers about why we feel emotionally out-of-whack and physically wrecked. 
	As a writer, I loved this book because it reminded me of what a memoir can be—My own memoir is a work of narrative nonfiction, but Maloney’s is a pamphlet of truth, a walk through the labyrinth of self-revelatory and honest storytelling about who we are as a society in this mess of medicine and morass, this curiouser and curiouser place that continues to lead us down the rabbit hole rather than toward a healing light. Maybe the answers we seek lie at least partly within each of us. We have no answers, only attempts, no healing, only hope. 
	Maloney ends the book with imaginings and dreams in which she sees her former therapist as someone she tries to avoid until she can confidently say she is better, has made it, can prove that she is living life successfully and perhaps never “needing” to turn to therapy again. I like this ending because it makes me think about how the most any of us can actually hope for is a condition that can be described as “better,” and that is something that remains different for everyone. Free from definition, “better” is what we make of it. And for the time being, “better” is enough.
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First off, this book by Emily Maloney, Cost of Living: Essays, is completely unique, fantastically written and uses her breadth of experience with the medical profession as a patient and professional to discuss and critique the system. The whole book feels like it's asking the question, "Does the medical system serve the patient?" And the unsurprising answer is "No." But the way she's able to discuss it from so many different angles is powerful. And unique. I've never read anything quite like it. Some copy compares it to "Nickel and Dimed" and I can see that. When I read that book and later saw the stage adaptation it opened my eyes to inequities right in front of me. This book does the same thing in equally persuasive way.

And this book doesn't come out until 2022. Thanks, Net Galley! I'd seen it casually mentioned here a couple of times and I finally had an opportunity to log onto the website and figure it out. Cost of Living is my first read and I know there will be more. For passionate readers like me, check it out! It's free!
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Cost of Living by Emily Maloney is a collection of essays that are at times disheartening and at other times humorous, but they all come together to paint a bleak picture of what passes for a healthcare system in the United States.

I was probably expecting more about Maloney's personal struggles but was pleasantly surprised to find that those serve as more of a frame for looking at the economics of the healthcare system. One thing I took away was the stark contrast between healthcare providers' interest in making as much money as possible, their economy so to speak, and the patients, through Maloney's own experience as well as others, financial burdens and mental anguish that presents, their mental and fiscal economies.

I tend to see and understand things from a dark perspective when assessing US healthcare but that is on me and not this book. The essays touch on and illustrate many behind the scenes encounters that certainly can be read as criticism, but Maloney keeps a relatively light and engaging tone so the reader does not go down a dark rabbit hole (unless you're like me and are already halfway down the rabbit hole).

I would recommend this to readers who like firsthand accounts of both patients and healthcare workers. This is an entertaining read and Maloney makes her points subtly and with some compassion for all involved.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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If you read The Beauty in Breaking and loved it, this book is for you! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Going into this book I thought it was more so about Emily’s mental health journey, but the majority of the book focuses on her work in the healthcare system. Emily Maloney gives an interesting perspective into the healthcare system in America as both a patient and as a healthcare professional. It was a quick and easy read, the stories flowed nicely and it was very well written.
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Raw honest open the author is a brave strong woman.Icould not put this book down and it stayed with me after I read the last page, Will be recommending the book and the author.#netgalley #henryholtbooks
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Maloney’s book is real, raw, and thoughtful. I picked it up because the jacket referenced The Empathy Exams, which was spot on. Fans of that book will adore this one, which stays with you long after you finish it. Highly recommend.
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What this woman went through was amazing. I admire her overall strength. I devoured this book in 2 settings. A must read. Thanks to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for the arc of this book in return for my honest review. Receiving this book in this manner had no bearing on this review.
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This book is tough to review. The author is a talented writer with a wry sense of humor. Many of the lines are beautifully written. The book feels uneven; some essays are enthralling, especially the one which opens the book, but others are less so. The voice at times feels intimate, smart, and honest, and at others, reads as cagey and needlessly vague. There are times I wish the narrator was simply more clear and specific, as I think it would give readers a more solid understanding of stakes and personal growth at any given point. We're told, for example, that her parents make less than 20,000 a year, yet we're also told she buys a pony, her brother went to a special music school, and she herself attended countless private schools. They have three $500 vacuums but we never learn what her parents actually do, or why their income (assumably) dropped. The discussion of her ultimate diagnosis is similarly dropped in as almost a sidenote, and I wish there was more interrogation; she describes symptoms ranging from executive functioning to poor social skills to struggling to add, yet we're told vitamin D solves it  The takeaway? I'm not sure. 

All of this said, the book is interesting, well-written, and worth reading, especially if you're interested in the contemporary health care system, how women's pain/illnesses are treated, and our culture of prescriptions.  I just wanted more, which, to be fair, may be a matter of personal fit and taste.
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This is an important and necessary consideration of the dismal state of healthcare in America…and it’s almost too grim to read. Thankfully the author writes with just enough edgy humor to keep these essays afloat. But wow, this book will correct a lot of naive misconceptions about where we are with healthcare and what it costs.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy of this book.
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A series of essays about the author's experience as both a patient and a caregiver in the medical community. Some essays are better than others. She presents her own situations- a suicide attempt that ended up costing thousands of dollars, years of therapy and psychiatric drugs which left her feeling worse. She also served as a medical assistant and ER aide, which takes its toll over the years.
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