Diabetes Book Review: “Rage Bolus and Other Poems”


If you’re ready to pick up a new read about diabetes, “Rage Bolus and Other Poems” is worth considering! Here, a Beyond Type 1 Content Manager, Julia Flaherty, shares her review of author Kerri Sparling’s book of poetry. 

About the book

Rage Bolus and Other Poems” is a book of poetry about living with diabetes, separated into three parts, that lifts a veil on typical, everyday conversations a person living with diabetes may have in their head. If you are looking for a book that helps you feel more connected to the diabetes community and want to laugh, cry, or scream about some of the everyday happenings, this is a soul-match read.

The book contains almost 90 pages of poetry that flow and connects with the audience effortlessly. To name a few, some of the poem titles that you can look forward to while reading include:

  • “An ode to my pancreas.”
  • “Sweet Little Lancet.”
  • “What Matters.”
  • “Diabetes worrier.”
  • “She still smiles.”
  • “I carry my pancreas with me.”
  • “Where the islet cells end.”
  • “Dexcom dance.”
  • “One hundred percent.”

About the author

Sparling, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1986, is a well-known diabetes advocate. You might recognize her writing from Six Until Me, her blog about living with diabetes. In addition to her poetry, Sparling has also published “Balancing Diabetes: Conversations About Finding Happiness and Living Well” and has a forthcoming book of essays, “Six Until Me: Essays from a life with diabetes.

Spot-on emotional experience

You can’t help but feel immediately kindred with Sparling when reading the book’s namesake poem, “Rage Bolus.” This book offers a big “I see you” to everyone with diabetes who reads it.

The titular poem flows like a song or chant about the dreaded decision to rage bolus (when someone with diabetes over-corrects by administering insulin at too close of intervals, often resulting in low blood sugar). As many people with diabetes know, rage-bolusing tends to lead to rage corrections, which can consume many hours. (Impatience is inevitable with diabetes.) 

Sparling’s writing style will captivate and connect with people with diabetes, whether they’ve lived with it for a few months or several decades. Perhaps the writing is even more striking the longer you’ve lived with it. You may find yourself literally laughing out loud or screaming in agreement with the most poignant lines. (Or, in my case, wheezing!)

Though everyone experiences diabetes slightly differently, Sparling does a beautiful job capturing relatable moments. Each poem is thoughtfully considered, clearly coming from a very personal place.

You can’t help but nod your head as you go, whether Sparling writes about feeling disconnected from your endocrinologist, having a love/hate relationship with an “arse” of a pancreas or needing to find new ways to be empowered while living with diabetes.

Key takeaways

This book of poems is sassy, sarcastic, emotional, relatable and uplifting all at once. While it can help people with diabetes work through some of the many private thoughts that their loved ones aren’t privy to, it also provides quick banter that feels like venting to a best friend or long-time diabuddy.

This book is best to read when you’re really in your feelings about diabetes. It is a refreshing, artistic approach to the diabetes experience. The poems are especially inspiring when you’re experiencing diabetes distress or burnout or just have general frustrations you don’t think anyone close to you understands.

Sparling understands!

If you enjoy “Rage Bolus and Other Poems,” you might enjoy these titles from other authors:

WRITTEN BY Julia Flaherty, POSTED 05/19/22, UPDATED 01/10/23

Julia Flaherty is a published children’s book author, writer, editor, award-winning digital marketer, content creator and diabetes advocate. Find Julia’s first book, “Rosie Becomes a Warrior.” Julia finds therapy in building connections within the diabetes community. Being able to contribute to its progress brings her joy. She loves connecting with the diabetes communities, being creative and storytelling. You will find Julia hiking, traveling, working on her next book, or diving into a new art project in her free time. Connect with Julia on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter.