Mercies in Disguise: A Story of Hope, a Family’s Genetic Destiny, and the Science That Rescued Them

Gina Kolata. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-250-06434-9
Kolata (Flu), a science journalist for the New York Times, shares the gripping story of how one South Carolina family has dealt with Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease, a deadly and untreatable genetic illness. Her wonderful presentation of cutting-edge biomedical research offers insight into some of the scientists who carry it out while exploring the struggles and unhappiness of patients and their families. Kolata also examines a host of intractable ethical issues associated with the disease: Should individuals be tested to determine whether, sometime in the future, they will fall victim to the flaw in their genome, knowing that no palliative treatment is possible? Should embryos be genetically tested and those with the variant gene discarded? The family Kolata follows is devoutly Southern Baptist, which provides the opportunity to consider the myriad ways religion and science interact in such complex situations. Observing the familial interactions and the manner by which different individuals process the same information proves fascinating. The book’s only real flaw derives from the overwrought manner in which every action, whether mundane or medically critical, gets raised to crisis level. Kolata’s book reads like a medical thriller and readers will be caught up in the lives of the protagonists. Agent: Katinka Matson, Brockman Inc. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/23/2017
Release date: 03/21/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-1-250-12399-2
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-250-06444-8
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