all in my head



  • Shout out from Maya Dusenbery in Mother Jones (3-30-18) for analysis of Second Wave feminism's sensitivity/reluctance to exposing women's illness.
  • Interviews on NPR:
  • Interview on CBC Australia (December 17, 2008)
  • SALON: (4-15- 2005):  A review calls it "[an] unlikely and often hilarious memoir...will provoke anguished cries of recognition from anyone who's dealt with chronic pain...It connects the dots on this issue of women and chronic pain in a way nobody else has done, and it's a remarkable personal story as well.”
  • THE WOMEN'S REVIEW OF BOOKS (5-2006) describes the book as "exhaustively researched, comprehensive in its cultural analysis, effectively organized, engagingly written, and, well, a riot."
  • KIRKUS REVIEWS (1-1- 2005): "A darkly witty account…creates a clear picture of the poor state of pain care today…sharp, entertaining, informative, and blessedly free of poor-me- see-how-I-suffered-ism"
  • PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (1-17- 2005): "Undeniably funny. Kamen's irreverent sense of humor about her pain and herself makes the book a delight to read as she unabashedly pokes fun at the corporate pharmaceutical industry (even while she hopes for a test-tube cure), doctors and other caregivers. Kamen makes the reader understand what it is like to be happy even while one is in pain." 
  • NEW SCIENTIST (3/26/2005): “Written with passion and a remarkable sense of humor.”
  • Excerpted in Bitch Magazine
  • LIBRARY JOURNAL (2-15- 2005): "...Her story documents the failures of our medical system to deal with chronic pain or any other illness that is difficult to measure objectively while also offering insight into the desperation experienced by chronic illness sufferers..." Documents the failures of our medical system to deal with chronic pain...Engaging, informative, and at times humorous."
  • SHAPE MAGAZINE (June 2005): “With the tireless consumer activism of Ralph Nader and the sardonic wit of Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey, Kamen's tale is essential reading for anyone suffering from chronic pain."
  • BIOLOGY DIGEST May, 2005 "Humorously self-deprecating...wonderfully insightful....Kamen takes her subject seriously because she's walked the walk...Highly recommended!"


“Part confessional memoir, part raucous stand-up comedy routine, part-antidote to self-help literature, part incendiary call to action, All in My Head is a painfully funny descent into the woefully underreported topic of chronic pain. Kamen writes with the dedication of a muckraking journalist, the comic flair of Woody Allen, and the obsessive attention to detail of Spalding Gray. Tragically for the author, yet blessedly for readers, All in my Head is clearly a book that Paula Kamen was born to write.”

-Adam Langer, author of Crossing California

“This deeply human, witty and courageous book tells us the story of Paula Kamen's headache, and much more. During her lengthy, determined odyssey for relief of headache pain (during which the "personal becomes political" time and time again), Kamen addresses the broader issue of chronic pain in all its complexity, especially as it affects women. She challenges a broad range of western and "alternative" medical practitioners, as well as politicians and drug companies -- indeed all of society -- to develop compassionate and scientifically knowledgeable healing practices, useful remedies and improved health policies for the large number of people who suffer chronic pain. Drawing on her own experiences, historical and medical books and articles, and the testimony of many others, Kamen makes visible what has been all too invisible up until now. This wonderful book should be required reading for everyone.”

-Jane Pincus and Judy Norsigian, for The Boston Women's Health Book Collective. See the companion website for book, with new parts on chronic pain and fatigue, for which Paula was a reader

“Not since Norman Cousins' ANATOMY OF AN ILLNESS has there been a medical memoir of such depth and compelling fascination. The detail, the beautiful writing, the triumph of this young author's will over paralyzing pain will make you cry for her and adore her on the selfsame page.”

- Barbara Seaman, author and co-founder of The National Women’s Health Network

“Paula Kamen combines a sharp journalistic intelligence with a very welcome flair for the absurd.”

 -Dave Eggers

 “Paula Kamen's comic gifts are the best prescription for protecting us against the insane realities of our pharmaceuctically-obsessed health-care system. “

-Neal Pollack, author of Nevermind the Pollacks

“As a longtime fan of Paula Kamen and a fellow sufferer of constant, chronic, and misdiagnosed pain, I dove right into "All in My Head" As with her prior works, and pardon the painful pun, Kamen hits the nail right on the head in this book, this time investigating not only her headache but the metaphorical headaches one can easily get contemplating a spectrum of questionable pharmaceuticals and a parade of doctors, not a few of them unsympathetic. Best of all though, despite the sobering topic, Kamen manages to magically bring in a dose of levity- perhaps laughter is the best medicine after all- letting her keen wit and hilarious eye for bizarre detail shine through right from the start.”

-Spike Gillespie, author Surrender (But Don't Give Yourself Away): Old Cars, Found Hope and Other Cheap Tricks