I don’t feel right reviewing a book so personal as this, but I wanted to blog about it so I could share it and recommend it to you all!
Synopsis via Goodreads:
An award-winning memoir and instant New York Times bestseller that goes far beyond its riveting medical mystery, Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman’s struggle to recapture her identity.
When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened?
In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Cahalan tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen
I’ll admit: I’ve had this book on my shelf for well over a year, put there after my sister handed it to me and said “you have to read this!” Well, I’m sorry it took me so long, but I am so glad I finally picked it up! Susannah’s story is terrifying and fascinating at the same time – I could not look away. Seriously you guys, I couldn’t put this book down.
Most of the book is written so simply by Susannah, pieced together as she tried to put her life back together and find out exactly what happened to her and what she went through in the hospital. It is clear that Susannah needed answers after her ordeal and her quest find them is why we get to join her on this journey. Brain on Fire is addictive and extremely easy to read, there are medical terms and descriptions used in parts of the book but they are well researched and explained by Cahalan, there is no need for a deep medical background to enjoy this one. The story is so much more than a look in to her diagnosis though, it so gen explores the thoughts and emotions of everyone involved during this time in her life; more than anything this book opened my eyes to how far an illness can reach into your life and the lives of those around you and wreak havoc.
I was struck by Cahalan’s sincerity and amazing appreciation and zest for life after an experience I can only imagine would break lesser people. I highly recommend this for anyone interested in memoirs, amazing medical stories, nonfiction lovers or anyone looking to branch out to a good nonfiction read now and then but unsure where to start.