Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
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.
This was my first time reading a memoir, my first time reading non-fiction actually, and I wasn’t sure whether I would enjoy it or not. I very much enjoy getting caught up in a fictional story story and being carried away from real life while I’m reading. I like to escape life through books sometimes. However, this book is reality. A crazy reality for some. It’s pretty amazing what this girl went through and, luckily, made it out from.
I did enjoy this book. I found Susannah Cahalan’s story very interesting. I appreciate that she is continually working to make people aware of her story to hopefully help others, since the research and diagnosis of this disease is still in its infancy. Many medical professionals are still unaware of it. But thanks to Cahalan, more and more are learning about it and people are being treated for it.
There are a lot of medical terms and explanations throughout this book. Cahalan does a pretty good job at explaining them, but I found myself zoning out a bit during these parts. I realize that these are necessary parts to the story’s whole, but I just felt it weighed the book down a bit. This is just me, though. I’m sure many others will find these parts extremely interesting. They are definitely informative.
I liked the pieces that were taken from her real life and literally inserted into this book. There are bits and pieces throughout the book where we see actual snippets of her diary, her parents’ notes, doctors’ notes, etc. I thought these were great additions to the story and just added that little something extra for the reader.
I would recommend this book. It’s a very interesting read.