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Five parallel coming-of-age stories dramatize the stages of grief.
Written as a letter to her recently deceased mother, Gayle Brandeis’ memoir “The Art of Misdiagnosis” opens in 2009 with the news that her mother has hanged herself in a parking garage in Pasadena, two weeks after the author has given birth to her third child.
Prior to joining Crain, Caton & James, Lolly spent five years serving as a legal consultant to an international petrochemical storage company, handling land and storage terminal acquisitions and related due diligence, land and equipment leases, storage agreements, procurement agreements, consulting agreements, confidentiality agreements, construction contracts, and liens and other claims.
She also assisted in the development of standard contract forms and corporate policies for the company.
“Of course, I knew illness itself was de facto bad,” Brandeis writes, “but being the sick girl had somehow bathed me in a pallid glow that could so easily pass for goodness.” As Brandeis and her sister collude with their mother’s obsession — they later appear in Arlene’s unreleased documentary about porphyria and Ehlers-Danlos called “The Art of Misdiagnosis” — the book becomes a meditation on illness, the way it gives the sick person a sense of purpose and identity.
When the sisters can no longer sustain the illusion of illness with their doctors, they let it go even as this infuriates their mother.
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These moments from their past are woven into the story of the confusing, uncertain days following Arlene’s death.