Available Now

Not Weakness: Navigating the Culture of Chronic Pain

After thyroid cancer, Crohn’s disease, and a slew of other autoimmune conditions ransacked her body in her twenties and thirties, Francesca was left feeling completely alone in her chronic pain. Constant, relentless, often indescribable, and always exhausting, it affected her whole life—intimacy, motherhood, friendship, work, and mental health. Yet it was also fairly invisible—and because of that, Francesca felt stuck by herself in the centrifuge of her own pain. But after twenty-plus years of living isolated in this way, she started to wonder: if she lived in pain, others must too—so why couldn’t she name one person in her community who suffered like she did?

On a whim, Francesca started asking women in her community if they had chronic pain―only to find that she was surrounded by women also battling in silence. The more she spoke to people, the more she found common themes and experiences, proving that her stories of pain were not unique, and neither were her feelings of loneliness and seclusion. Liberated by this discovery, Francesca realized something: while she couldn’t alleviate anyone’s pain, maybe she could lift the shadows surrounding it―bring these common stories into the light, with the goal of helping her fellow chronic pain sufferers feel a little less alone.

Imbued with a deep respect for the women who tell their stories in its pages, as well as a healthy skepticism of the healthcare world and how it can silence, shame, and ignore women in pain, Not Weakness is galvanizing memoir about living and loving with chronic pain.

Order Your Copy Today!

Editorial Reviews

Not Weakness is a much needed examination of a pressing and urgent problem that faces not just modern healthcare, but also every one of us. Women’s pain is everybody’s pain. Or should be. Francesca Grossman, and the brave stories she’s collected, show us that it’s never too late to focus on what hurts us most and find a way through it to something entirely new.

Intertwining her moving personal journey with the stories of other women living with chronic pain, Grossman sheds light on the stigma our culture places on pain and offers insight into the sense of connection, community, and, yes, hope, that may emerge when those who suffer share their stories—and are heard.

This is the book we all need; whether or not we suffer from chronic pain ourselves. It’ll offer us a deeper understanding and let’s be real: we all know people suffering with chronic pain. Francesca Kaplan Grossman writes beautifully. It’s a pleasure to read every sentence, yes, even inside a book on pain. She brings love and beauty and deep empathy. Get this book for yourself and your people.

A powerful and poignant account of the experience of living with chronic pain. Francesca neither looks for pity nor hides the raw truths—this book will prove a comfort to anyone living with a condition others don’t understand, and a must-read for anyone supporting someone who does. Simply put, this book is a gift.

So much more than a personal memoir, Not Weakness is a meditation on womanhood, endurance, and daring to exist in a culture nominally obsessed with wellness and hustle yet deeply uncomfortable with those whose bodily realities reveal the limits of those ideals—limits which all of us, inevitably, will encounter. Francesca Grossman beautifully weaves together stories of chronic pain to illuminate how our embodied experiences are at once irreducibly unique, and universally, inescapable.