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, Susannah 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. “A fascinating look at the disease that…could have cost this vibrant, vital young woman her life” (People), Brain on Fire is an unforgettable exploration of memory and identity, faith and love, and a profoundly compelling tale of survival and perseverance that is destined to become a classic.
Kati B., RN’s Thoughts:
I recently finished reading “Brain on Fire” by Susannah Cahalan while I was hiking on my days off in Mcbride, BC. I don’t know if it has been chosen in the past but it is definitely worth a read, especially if you are in the medical field! It gives a great patient perspective on a woman’s struggle to reach a very rare diagnosis that has historically gone misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. It is written from the perspective of the patient, Susannah and also explores the views of her family and doctors during her period of “madness,” violence, and loss of identity and self. One of my favourite books for sure and a good read while on assignment :)
After hearing about this book from Kati, I ordered it that same day! I went home, grabbed some tea, my cat, and got cozy on the couch and settled in for a good read. My background and education are in Psychology, and not medicine, however I thought that this book was a meld of the two disciplines. I found this memoir absolutely fascinating as she was able to explain her illness with simple medical terminology which I found easy to understand, as well as snippets of Doctor’s notes, videos and images or notes that she created while in the hospital. I am glad that her family was able to support, and fight for her diagnosis and to care for her when she was discharged. I definitely recommend this book! (PS – I did watch the movie on Netflix and was really disappointed.)