What’s Wrong?

Personal Histories of Chronic Pain and Bad Medicine


A gorgeously illustrated critique of how the American healthcare system fails women, people of color, and nonbinary individuals-perfect for fans of Invisible Women

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ISBN: 9781419747342 Category:

Erin Williams


“A humane and gripping work that illuminates how (and why) our treatments of chronic illness fail, and a devastating portrait of the ways our society fails to protect the bodies of its most vulnerable members.” —Melissa Febos, author of Girlhood, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award

“Erin Williams' What's Wrong? is an utterly riveting, deeply moving, absolutely molecule-rearranging exploration of pain–individual and collective–suffused with wit, wonder, and mourning; textured by compassion and curiosity, and vibrating with the humanity of its dynamic subjects. Williams' sharp, nimble, tender prose, and her searing art–humming with insight and imagination–speak to veins of human experience so difficult to articulate we often shy away from speaking them at all. But in these dark places, she finds vitality, collectivity, and hope. This book and its subjects will live inside me forever.” Leslie Jamison, author The Empathy Exams

What’s Wrong? is author, illustrator, and scientific researcher Erin Williams’s graphic exploration of how the American health-care system fails us. Focusing on four raw and complex firsthand accounts, plus Williams’s own story, this book examines the consequences of living with interconnected illnesses and conditions like: immunodeficiency cancer endometriosis alcoholism severe depression PTSD Western medicine, which intends to cure illness and minimize pain, often causes more loss, abuse, and suffering for those Americans who don’t fit within the narrow definition of who the system was built to serve—cis, white, heterosexual men. The book explores the many ways in which those receiving medical care are often overlooked, unseen, and doubted by the very clinicians who are supposed to heal them. What’s Wrong? is also a beautiful celebration of nontraditional modes of healing, of how we become whole not because of health care but despite it.

Additional information

Weight 632 g
Dimensions 15.9 x 20.9 cm
Publisher name ABRAMS
Publication date 25 January 2024
Number of pages 256
Format Hardback
Dimensions 15.9 x 20.9 cm
Weight 632 g


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Erin Williams is the author and illustrator of Commute: An Illustrated Memoir of Female Shame and the coauthor and illustrator of How to Take Care: An A-Z Guide of Radical Remedies and the Big Activity Book series. She has more than a decade of experience in data analysis and scientific research. She lives in New York with her spouse, child, and an array of pets.