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Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

Brain on Fire (edition 2012)

by Susannah Cahalan

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1,022718,311 (3.97)43
Title:Brain on Fire
Authors:Susannah Cahalan
Info:Free Press (2012), Edition: 1, Kindle Edition, 290 pages
Collections:Your library, Four/Five stars
Tags:Brain disease, Encephalitis, Medicine, Mental illness, New York Post, Memoir, Hospitals, Doctors, Neurology, Nonfiction

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Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan


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In the memoir Brain on Fire, Susannah Cahalan details her struggle to get an accurate diagnosis for why she has suddenly been having symptom that resemble mental illness or signs of a stroke. She leaves the reader guessing as to what the correct diagnosis might be until the last third of the book. So many times I was tempted to flip ahead to see what it was!

Susannah’s story is surprisingly detailed given that she cannot remember a lot of the events that happened in her “month of madness”. Luckily, she is a journalist and was skilled at interviewing her family, friends and doctors about what happened.

One of the most important take-ways from this book is to be your own advocate in your health care. As a frequent patient myself, I heartily second that. Never be afraid to question your doctor and do your own research.

I definitely recommend this book. ( )
  mcelhra | May 7, 2016 |
Very interesting story, terrifying because it really happened. Meaning, it could happen to anyone. Thankfully for her, she has enough loved ones and family around her to take charge and get her help. Another symptom-driven along with tough diagnosis causing even more angst. The author is a journalist, so I expected it to be well-written, and it was. It kept my interest throughout. ( )
  debbie-1955 | May 7, 2016 |
It's a great story, and I'll bet the short version she wrote was better. It certainly reminded me of "House," the TV series about a cranky doctor who solves medical mystery cases in an hour. But I'm not sure that trying to get a whole book out of this story panned out. I seem to be in the minority here; I thought the story dragged until she got the diagnosis. It was one episode after another of "and then I did this, and then I did that." Then after the diagnosis it was interesting for a bit, before slowing down again. I didn't think it was great writing, given that she is a journalist. I kept picking it up and putting it down. The reason I picked it up was that many students in an AP Psych course at my high school had read portions of it in class (maybe they read the article it is based on). Well, in the end I skimmed the last quarter of the book. If anyone is interested in stories of neurological mysteries, I recommend Oliver Sack's The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Now that was fascinating. ( )
  fromthecomfychair | Apr 21, 2016 |
Very Interesting. The human body is amazing for both the good and the bad but we learn all the time. Hopefully her story helps more people get the care they need. ( )
  Jennie.Cole | Feb 24, 2016 |
Excellent memoir of a journalist struggles with a rare brain disease and the diagnostic journey which could only have happened with a supportive family. ( )
  nospi | Feb 7, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
"..a fascinating and compelling story told in a smart, succinct style.."
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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
Dedicated to those without a diagnosis
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Maybe it all began with a bug bite, from a bedbug that didn't exist.
If all I can remember are hallucinations, how can I rely on my own mind?
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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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