Englischsprachige Literatur

Weingarten Gene

The Hypochondriac´s Guide to Life. And Death

Fireside, New York 2001


The New York Daily News praises this book by a colleague from the Washington Post as “flat out the funniest book on hypochondria ever written”, which strikes me as slightly ambiguous. I am not quite sure how many books about hypochondria have been written for the non initiated public.

So here it is at last, and a masterpiece of its kind. Weingarten shows you that hypochondria is not for sissies and the ultimate aim in life is death. Of course he makes fun of  the everlasting worries of a true hypochondriac, but on the other hand you find well researched lists of symptoms and their most likely and most terrible origins. It´s no good idea to read the book through from cover to cover. Better to just read one chapter and then leave it be for some time.

The book has a sad ending. Weingarten´s ultimate cure for the hypochondriac is to have a really serious disease like Hepatitis C which the author has developed. And his “humour is a measurement of the extent to which we realize we are trapped in a world almost totally devoid of reason.” (p. 195)