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Romance, Riches, and Restrooms: A Cautionary Tale of Ambitious Dreams and Irritable Bowels    by Tim Phelan order for
Romance, Riches, and Restrooms
by Tim Phelan
Order:  USA  Can
iUniverse, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

After Tim Phelan developed IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) early in life, he found it ruling his days and controlling his nights. Since it's not a condition that would be considered polite dinner table conversation, he hid his problem for many years.

His troubled tale of his experiences with this disabling and disheartening malady is both very funny and disturbingly poignant. Stories of his digestive system rumbling and growling are written to entertain while at the same making the reader aware that someone with him or her at this very moment is suffering the pangs of not knowing just how close the nearest restroom is. (58 million Americans suffer from IBS.) Phelan tells us about driving his own car to work when public transportation would be cheaper and faster. He did so because of the fear that the traffic might be held up in a tunnel and he would be left with the agony of embarrassment and humiliation at publicly soiling himself. Even just a few minutes could make the difference.

Phelan suffered pangs of despair, living alone with this devastating problem, until he inadvertently confessed and discovered there were others so afflicted. What he did with the information freed up his life to the extent that he could date, plan travel, and control his endless urges to run to a restroom. He writes clearly and frankly, not asking for sympathy. This is his problem and he will deal with it. But he does give hope to others who may suffer similarly.

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