In 2009, Susannah Cahalan woke up in a strange hospital room strapped to a bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. Her medical records - from a month-long hospital stay of which she had no memory - reported psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier she had been a healthy, ambitious twenty-four-year-old, six months into her first serious relationship and a sparkling career as a cub reporter.
Susannah’s astonishing memoir chronicles the swift path of her illness and the lucky, last-minute intervention led by one of the few doctors capable of saving her life. Weeks ticked by and Susannah moved inexplicably from violence to catatonia. Over one million dollars worth of blood tests and brain scans revealed nothing. The exhausted doctors were ready to commit her to the psychiatric ward, until the celebrated neurologist, Dr. Souhel Najjar, joined her team. With the use of a simple - yet ingenious - test, he was able to make a lifesaving diagnosis - revealing a newly discovered autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks the brain.
With sharp reporting drawn from hospital records, scientific research, and interviews with doctors and family, Brain on Fire is a crackling mystery and an unflinching, gripping personal story that marks the debut of an extraordinary writer.
©2012 Original material © 2012 Susannah Cahalan. Recorded by arrangement with Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. (P)2012 (p) 2012 HighBridge Company
"Engrossing.... Unquestionably, an important book on both a human and a medical level. Cahalan’s elegantly-written memoir of her dramatic descent into madness opens up discussion of the cutting-edge neuroscience behind a disease that may affect thousands of people around the world, and it offers powerful insight into the subjective workings of our minds." (Mehmet Oz, MD, Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Surgery, New York Presbyterian-Columbia Medical Center)
"Brain on Fire reads like a scientific thriller, but with a profound and moving philosophy at its heart." (David B. Agus, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Engineering, University of Southern California, and author of The End of Illness)
the story was weel written and easy to follow. I enjoyed the medical content.
I listened to this book some time ago, and just saw that it is being made into a movie starring Dakota Fanning. Kudos to the author, and excellent choice for the lead in what I'm sure will be a great movie.
But don't just watch the movie. You have to listen to this book! Cahalan, a young, aspiring writer/journalist, suffers an alarming personality change - she literally goes "mad." In clear and entertaining prose, Calahan describes her harrowing journey, handling the medical details in a way that's both interesting and understandable. In doing so, she has also done much to raise awareness about the illness that struck her. It's wonderful that she has recovered so well and was able to share her story with the world. And now a movie!
This was the first book narrated by Heather Henderson I'd listened to, and I really like her reading. She captures the author's voice and moods, as well as doing a great job with the voices of other family members, friends, and medical personell. I liked her so much I've been listening to other books she's narrated - really loved her reading of "The Curve of Time" by M. Wylie Blanchet, another extraordinary memoir, but quite different from this book.
Interesting story, but could have been told in half the time. The first half is much better than the second. In fact, I fast forwarded through most of the second.
I heard the author interviewed on NPR a few months back, and new I wanted to read or listen to the book. This was a great listen, it definitely draws you in. Her experience is fascinating, and the neuroscience and medical aspects of it are described in a clear, easy to understand way.
The author described her experience so vividly, scary and fascinating at the same time. there isnt a completely outstanding plot however the author still kept me interested and wanted to read ahead through out the book. a very fun read for someone thats interesting in medicine or neurology. (I also personally think the narrator went at a too fast pace but can still cope with it.)
This is the first audiobook that I have listened to that was not a lecture. I usually listen to lectures from the Modern Scholar or Great Courses series. I was hesitant to listen to an actual book but I am sure glad I did. It is very well written, the narration is excellent, and the story is fascinating.
The narrator sounded like she really could be the author which made you sympathize with her and constantly want to know what happens next.
Her interactions and thoughts on how her boyfriend and family helped her were moving. You can feel her frustration with being sick.
No, I think one time is good. I mean, it's a good story and all . . .
That one memoir by the fourteen-year old boy who set himself on fire and recovered in the burn unit of the hospital. Do you know that one? "The Burn Journals" by Brent Runyon. Both memoirs are interesting descriptions of going through a terrible medical ordeal in a hospital, and they're both really good.
The author is able to piece together amazing details and tells the story in a compelling way. The whole time, I was thinking, "What? That's crazy!" And then when I found out the diagnosis, I was all, "What? That's crazy!" The brain is a fascinating and mysterious organ, I tell you.
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