Riots over the medical use of cadavers. Public access to institutions for the insane. And full-blown surgeries without the aid of anesthetics or painkillers. Welcome to the middle ages of American medicine. Bleed, Blister, Puke, and Purge exposes the extraordinary practices and major players of American medical history, from the colonial era to the late 1800s. It’s hard to believe that today’s cutting-edge medicine originated from such crude beginnings, but this book reminds us to be grateful for today’s medical care, while also raising the question: what current medical practices will be the horrors of tomorrow?
A visit to New York City’s International Center for Photography inspired Bleed, Blister, Puke, and Purge. The exhibit, Lost Souls, was of eerie black and white photos capturing historical medical cabinets of curiosity. Lena Herzog’s photographs of skeletons, medical texts, jars of fetuses, and more sparked my interest in anatomical museums. This led me to Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum and research on the beginnings of American medicine.
A Round-up of Reviews
- Unshelved, the comic for librarians, devoted a special Unshelved Book Club color panel to Bleed, Blister, Puke, and Purge. (October 21, 2016)
- Part review, part interview, Lauren Byrnes of the blog YA Interrobang said this about Bleed, Blister, Puke, and Purge, “Combining incredible scientific and historical research with raw humor and anecdotes, J. Marin Younker’s debut nonfiction book…is a fascinating read, making me laugh and cringe at all the best parts.” (December 14, 2016)
- Sharon Levin of Life, Literature, and Laughter… started off her review with a bang: “Remember how I say that children’s books make me smarter? Sometimes they totally gross me out WHILE making me smarter. Bleed, Blister, Puke and Purge definitely fills requirements in both categories (making this a PERFECT YA book!).” (February 28, 2017)