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Pain Concern Book Club – Where Does It Hurt?: Life With Chronic Pain – A Memoir by Tim Atkinson

Book review as featured article in Pain Press – January 2022

Book Review: Where Does It Hurt?: Life With Chronic Pain – A Memoir by Tim Atkinson
Dotterel Press, 249 pp, £9.99
ISBN: 978-0956286932
Published: September 2021

Tim Atkinson’s Where Does It Hurt?: Life With Chronic Pain – A Memoir is a unique book in that it brings together a 360 degree view on living with pain. It isn’t necessarily a self-help book, although it is undoubtedly a useful resource for people with pain, it is more similar to an encyclopedia than a self-help book. Atkinson brings together lived experience, the history of pain, personal diary entries and interesting facts to create a gem of pain literature.


The writing style Atkinson utilises in Where Does It Hurt? is accessible and easy to read, but most importantly Atkinson’s voice is a relatable one to pain sufferers, because he is a pain sufferer himself. In fact, his own lived experience runs throughout the book in the form of diary excerpts and personal opinions. This serves as a frequent reminder to the reader that they are not alone in their pain, which can be an extremely isolating experience. In learning about the author’s pain, we can open ourselves up to learning more about our own pain as well.


This isn’t just a book about Atkinsons pain journey though. Where Does It Hurt?: is full of historical information about pain and its treatment, notable research and science experiments, pop culture references and a sense of humour which makes it a joy to read. Atkinson covers a vast range of topics from substance/medication abuse problems to post-surgery recovery and does so in a way which is clear and easy to understand.


The only issue with accessibility that the book may have is its lack of a contents page and chapter headings. Sometimes, people with pain may not be able to read or hold a book for long and having clear headings can help people get to the information they need faster. However, the content and writing style are of a standard which would be useful to anybody who lives with pain or wants to learn more about it.


Where Does It Hurt?: Life With Chronic Pain – A Memoir by Tim Atkinson is an excellent, information packed book about life with pain, written by someone who knows what it’s like. There is no sense of being preached at or talked down to when you are reading it. Atkinson’s book is a cathartic learning experience and a gateway to exploring and understanding your own pain more.

Review by Jennifer Bowey, Managing Editor & Project Co-ordinator at Pain Concern

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