One in nine women in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autoimmune disease each year, which means there are a whole lot of women who can directly relate with the treacherous and healing journey Wendy Shanker writes so eloquently about in her new memoir, poignantly titled Are You My Guru?. She was diagnosed with Wegener’s granulomatosis at 33, and has spent years navigating both the hubris of western and the quirks of eastern medicine armed with an amazing sense of humor, a Madonna soundtrack, and a lot of good friends.
The thing is, you don’t need to have experienced an autoimmune disease to deeply connect this memoir. So much of it is about the universal wanderings and wonderings that come about with ye ole modern life, questions like: am I really in charge of my own destiny? Why do bad things happen to me? How can I deal with my shit once and for all? Is my anger at my boyfriend causing this UTI?
Wendy is like a funnier version of the inside of my brain, where I am constantly ping-ponging between feeling like a cynic and an idealist, a pessimist and an optimist, a proponent in rational diagnosis and a believer in the deeper truth that things are really f-ing complicated and mysterious. It’s always nice to have your own neurosis and confusion show up in a book like this because it means, a) you’re not alone and b) someone funnier than you can help you figure out how to laugh at yourself a little better.
In the end, that’s the healing 100% of us need.