"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Friday, August 26, 2011

Review and Giveaway: How Can You NOT Laugh at a Time Like This? by Carla Ulbrich

How Can You NOT Laugh at a Time Like This?
Reclaim Your Health with Humor, Creativity and Grit
Author:  Carla Ulbrich (the singing patient)
Publisher:  Tell Me Press, LLC
Copyright:  2011
Pages: 219
ISBN 13 9780981645346
Genre:  humour/memoir
Source:  JKS Communications sent me a copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Available at Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon Marketplace, Barnes & Noble, Audible, Indiebound

(from the cover)  "How Can You NOT Laugh at a Time Like This? is a collection of short, inspiring, funny essays that help people thrive, celebrate life, and work through illness.  Carla Ulbrich - the Singing Patient - reveals how laughter has been pivotal to reclaiming her health after serious crises.  She offers heartfelt and humorous advice for navigating the medical system and explains how she's benefited from exploring better nutrition, exercise, and alternative therapies such as acupuncture.  This singer-songwriter's candid insights, wisecracking commentary, handy lists, and hilarious song lyrics provide smiles and gentle camaraderie to those who want to tackle health problems with courage, zest, and humour."

With humour and sage advice, Carla Ulbrich, of How Can You NOT Laugh at a Time Like This?, shares the elements of her recovery from an autoimmune disease (LUPUS) Fibromyalgia, and two strokes which, with several other complications, nearly took her life. Carla tells how she put humour to music, making her the singing patient.  Carla is a firm believer that humour saves a person, happiness is a greater key to success, and lifestyle changes can make an enormous difference in how you feel, especially if you have health problems.

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing:  the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." ~ Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning (page 136, How Can You Not Laugh at a Time Like This?)

I was surprised to read in Chapter 3, subheading "Cut the Cheese", (referencing Levine in More About Allergy and Addiction) that foods and items you crave are actually allergens for your body!  Imagine being allergic to chocolate!  (that would be my number 1 crave, by the way).  Could it be that the craving we feel is actually an allergic reaction?

From never let them stick a needle twice, to writing on yourself with permanent marker prior to surgery so the surgeon is sure to get it right!, to refusing suggested testing and treatments when the possible complications can be just as bad or worse than the actual disease/problem being treated, How Can You NOT Laugh at a Time Like This? offers some very wise advice, often with some tongue-in-cheek.   Carla recommends you research, ask questions, be in charge of your treatment and above all else keep a sense of humour!  

And please, if you are visiting someone in the hospital or who is ill, read Chapter 1, Top Ten Things People Say to Someone Who's Just Been Diagnosed.  You just may prevent the foot-in-mouth syndrome that we all dread!  Like, "You don't look sick".  How about countering that with, "You don't look insensitive.  I guess appearances can be deceiving:)".  There's a lot more where that came from.  For a better idea, take a look at these chapter headings:

1 - It's Not as Fun as it Looks:  Other People and Your Disease
2 - What's Up Doc?  Surviving Health Care
3 - That's Inflammatory!  What Not to Eat if you Have an Autoimmune Disease
4 - Well Duh!  Science Proves Common Sense Right
5 - Rubber Chicken Soup:  Keeping a Sense of Humour
6 - Take a Mind off Your Load:  Expressing Yourself and Keeping it Positive
7 - I'd Like to Speak to the Owner of This Body:  Moving Forward and Taking Responsibility
8 - The Early Bird Can Have the Worm:  Pacing Yourself
9 - Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall.  Who's the Oh, Never Mind Beauty
10-Mission Possible: Persistence

"Through humour, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers.  And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it."~ Bill Cosby (page 108, How Can You NOT Laugh at a Time Like This?)

Rated 4/5

-- Contest now closed--

JKS Communications is offering, via My Bookshelf, one copy of How Can You NOT Laugh at a Time Like This? to one reader!  To enter, please leave a comment below.  The winner will be chosen randomly, via Random.org.  Contest closes closed September 9, 2011 at midnight, MST.  The winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address to receive their prize.  Contest open to US and Canadian residents.   


  1. This looks hilarious! I have to read it! Hope I win! Thanks!


  2. And [she] had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse...
    Mark 5:26--see, this has been going on a looong time.

  3. I want to read this book. Carla has wit and verve.

  4. This looks awesome! I love reading your blogs and post! You are a hoot! I would love to add this one to my collection!


  5. Nice.... must read everyone in their life, but very carefully it makes you crazy. Its a precious gift for listeners.

  6. Wow! I would really love to win your book. My husband was just diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and my niece has Lupus too. Thank you for putting yourself out there and helping others!!

  7. I want to read this book. I've enjoyed Carla's music for a long time now and think that she's really creative.

  8. I SO want to read this work...I'd be thrilled to win it! If I do, my email is jburton1114 at gmail

  9. This is my kind of advice book - with a sense of humor. Love it! Thanks for the chance to win!



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