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Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by…

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness (edition 2012)

by Susannah Cahalan

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Title:Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
Authors:Susannah Cahalan
Info:Free Press (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 288 pages
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Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan


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Susannah Cahalan’s memoir of the terrifying illness that affected her reads more like a horror story than a medical mystery. It’s scary to realize how an illness can change the very essence of what makes someone who they are. Brain on Fire is an interesting read, and I recommend it. ( )
  JoStARs | Jul 14, 2014 |
Her experience was scary and shocking, however, I felt like I was an outsider reading the book. Felt more like a personal letter to her family and friends who supported her, and a scolding of those doctors and friends who mistreated her during her experience. ( )
  RebeccaLeaf | Jun 19, 2014 |
The memoir of a woman who lost a month of her life to a mysterious illness. Fascinating look into the medical and psychiatric field. ( )
  limamikealpha | Jun 5, 2014 |
Psychosis. Alcohol withdrawl sypmtoms. Temporal lobe epilepsy. Nervous breakdown due to stress. Schizoaffective disorder. After waking up in a hospital strapped to a bed, all of these were diagnoses for Susannah Cahalan. Tests and tests and tests showed nothing was wrong with her. Yet she was having seizures, hallucinating, feeling paranoid, having manic episodes, and then going mute. Something was going on, but doctors could not figure out what was wrong. The doctors seemed on the verge of giving up and committing her to a psychiatric ward for the rest of her days, but her parents did not give up - they kept pushing to find out a true diagnosis. Finally, a simple test gave a clue: Susannah was asked to draw a clock face, and what she drew told a story. The numbers on the clock were all squeezed to the right side of the circle, meaning there was inflammation in the right hemisphere of her brain. Now the doctors could do more appropriate tests and learn her true diagnosis. With this information, they were able to cure Susannah of her disease so she could return to her life. This fascinating look at a woman's "descent into madness" was pieced together from hospital video clips, interviews of doctors and family, medical charts, and diary entries Susannah and her family wrote during her month of madness. She gives us a look into a harrowing experience, yet gives us hope that not all dire medical circumstances will end badly. She shows amazing strength and resilience as she recovers from a horrible disease, and becomes a role model and inspiration for others who have been diagnosed with her rare condition. This is a very well-written story that will draw you in and keep you turning pages. ( )
  litgirl29 | May 23, 2014 |
Brain on Fire is a book that I could not put down. It is the story of a young woman struck with a mysterious illness that attacked her brain, affecting her physically, emotionally and mentally. It is also the story of her journey through the medical system, beginning with a doctor who misdiagnoses her with stress and overconsumption of alcohol, through her serendipitous meeting with the brilliant neuroscientist who correctly identifies the disease, and finally her recovery and reentry into her “normal life”. Written with honesty and clarity, Brain on Fire is important reading for anyone whose symptoms do not fit neatly into a medical box, for doctors as a reminder that sometimes a horse is a zebra, and for anyone interested in an inspirational story of triumph over adversity. ( )
  Suzanne81 | May 11, 2014 |
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"..a fascinating and compelling story told in a smart, succinct style.."
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Maybe it all began with a bug bite, from a bedbug that didn't exist.
I have felt that odd whirr of wings in the head. - Virginia Woolf, A Writer's Diary: Being Extracts from the Diary of Virginia Woolf
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The story of twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan and the life-saving discovery of the autoimmune disorder that nearly killed her -- and that could perhaps be the root of "demonic possessions" throughout history.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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