Repeating pattern of books with one book highlighted and liked.

Book Review: "Myasthenia Gravis: The Musical"

Search for a book that discusses the humorous side of myasthenia gravis (MG), and you are likely to come up short. Until now. Earlier this year playwright, author, and actor Jane Marla Robbins completed and published Myasthenia Gravis: The Musical.

This book is a blast of fresh air on the subject of myasthenia gravis. By Using humor, poetry, and a libretto, Robbins captures a first-person account of living with MG. She manages to put into words those thoughts, frustrations, and other emotions most MG patients experience daily. But, unlike most MG books, articles, forums, and conversations, she replaces the morbidity of the subject with humor and enlightenment.

It's as if the author read my mind

I find it intriguing to read in print many of the thoughts that have coursed through my brain over the years since my MG first appeared. I have never met Robbins (except via email and a virtual forum) yet when I read her book it feels like she must have read my mind. Almost weird and spooky when that happens but, in retrospect, not really.

From her initial diagnosis to hospital visits, testing, and interactions with various physicians, nurses and caregivers, Robbins makes me think, if not actually say, "Yeah, me too!" when reading her accounts of the trials and tribulations of MG that she encounters daily.

Breakdown of the book

The book is in 6 parts and follows the timeline of her experiences from diagnosis in September 2021 to today:

  • Part I: Myasthenia Gravis: The Musical!
  • Part II: Poems, Prayers, and Healing
  • Part III: Poems, Rants and Hope
  • Part IV: Martha Graham, Initials MG
  • Part V: Did They Really Have to Add the "Gravis??"
  • Part VI: Final Song

Entertaining and humorous takes on MG

Part one is the "musical" section. The songs are entertaining and filled with energy. The scene descriptions are very brief, yet more than adequate such that I can picture the scenes in my head. And when Robbins mentions the titles of the songs she uses for the melodies, I find myself singing the songs aloud (or in my head) using her lyrics. Very entertaining!

Call me uncivilized or boorish, but I've never particularly liked reading poetry and prose. Yet Robbins has made me rethink all that with her uncanny use of such writing to describe her experiences and thought processes. I particularly like her humorous take on the words, "antibodies" and "gravis.” I found myself laughing out loud.

Sometimes laughter is the best medicine

You are not going to find much useful medical information about MG in this book. Instead, you will find a satisfyingly humorous and thought-provoking journey into one person’s life with MG. To paraphrase a common saying, "Sometimes laughter is the best medicine." In fact, the subtitle of her book is, "My Medical, Hysterical, Poetical, Comical 25-month Memoir," a fitting description of her writing.

If Robbins is planning to produce it, then I can’t wait to see the actual musical.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.