Exploring the fascinating (and disturbing) connection between an obsession with “true crime” television and one chronically ill woman’s serial surgeries and medical emergencies, Marcia Trahan’s bravely honest memoir Mercy compels readers to consider the omnipresent violence — both literal and figurative — visited upon women’s bodies. Not a jolly subject, right? Surprisingly, Trahan’s telling of her tale is often funny, always witty, and never boring. There’s plenty to be upset about — sexual abuse, alcoholism, reckless parenting — but the author doesn’t portray herself as a hapless victim; she’s a questing searcher, finding her way out of despair into the light of understanding. It’s an insightful journey worth taking.

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