About My Book Reviews

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

Title: Brain on Fire (My Month of Madness)

Author: Susannah Cahalan

Published: 2012

Genre: Memoir

Grade Level: Adult

-Movie Rating: PG-13



Read by: Heather Henderson

Length: 7hrs 48min

Recommend: Yes


Blurb (from 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.

Disclaimer: My review of this memoir is not in any way a reflection upon the author or their life. I am a book reviewer, I review books… not people.

My Scores: (re-read)

Writing Style: Solid

Naturally, since the author is a journalist, the novel is written in a journalistic style. This writing style is typically objective, impersonal, or otherwise solely factual. I am learning, though, that just like with the Whipping Boy, the author can have a unique voice even while using a journalistic style.   

Link to book review of Whipping Boy

I found Cahalan to be witty, compelling, and undeniably brave in sharing this unbelievable story with the world. I also think she’s wicked smart to have come through all this and still put together such a well-craft novel.

Characters: Memorable

(I known they’re real people. I’m referring to them as character’s anyway.)

The way Cahalan changes throughout the book, personality wise, really stuck out in my mind. Not only was she dealing with unexplainable physical ailments, but to have strange personality changes on top of that… Sheesh!

It was also really nice to see how her loved ones gathered around her and helped her through this awful ordeal. The devotion of her parents and her boyfriend pulled at my heartstrings and by-and-large renewed my faith in humanity.

Plot: Absolute Page Turner

There is plenty of suspense to be had in this book. Despite the knowledge that Cahalan is going to be saved (obviously, because there wouldn’t be a memoir otherwise), it’s still gripping.

This memoir is not just a medical mystery, it’s a novel of perseverance, recovery, and the importance surrounding yourself with people who truly love you.

Overall: Obsessed

If you love a good medical mystery or have an interest in phycology, I would highly recommend this memoir! This is my second time through and it was still riveting.


Goodreads Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!


No comments:

Post a Comment