If you've never delved into anthropology, this book provides a fascinating--and different--look at the way Americans deal with serious personal crises, which are usually fodder for psychological study. Using anthropological research methods and analysis, Gay Becker offers up a richly insightful view of how people recover from serious illness, infertility and other crises. She draws several conclusions, among them: Americans imagine their worlds to be orderly and predictable because we don't want to face the truth that life is chaotic and that bad things happen all the time. Becker, a professor of medical anthropology at UC San Francisco, also observes that a period of "limbo" follows a crisis, and that this is a necessary interlude before people can begin to restore a sense of order to their lives. During this limbo, people acknowledge that a part of their old selves has died and new selves must be re-created. "Disrupted Lives," while scholarly, is reassuring and comforting.