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)
Frightening, Informative and Wondering
The insight into Schitzophrenia from the patient's experiences.
How here family stuck with her.
Listened to this book in just 2 days...and I rarely do that - it had me hooked! Highly recommend this book about a young woman's highly scary and disturbing experience with "madness" caused by a treatable illness which was nearly missed entirely by her medical team, but thankfully was ultimately diagnosed correctly. If it had not been correctly diagnosed, she may have ended up in a mental institution. Even if this is not a typical genre of book you read, it is still well worth the time to become familiar with this vexing and mysterious illness which was not discovered and correctly diagnosed until 2007! It is frightening to imagine how many innumerable people may have been institutionalized or died due to it prior to 2007. It is also worth reading so one can ponder about how often patients may be misdiagnosed due to under-informed physicians as well as many other possible reasons doctors may not diagnose accurately or completely. This is not to be a criticism of all doctors, it is simply a reality and the account of Susannah's experience conveys why I believe (from personal experience) it is often in a person's best interest & highest good to seek multiple medical opinions (western, eastern and alternative), most particularly when a person is experiencing a complicated or mysterious "dis-ease", such as Susannah's type of (and many other) auto-immune disorders. This book is a well researched and well written account of the gripping physical and mental roller coaster Susannah experienced and from which she was very fortunately able to substantially, and hopefully nearly fully, recover.
For me, the narrator/narration was the weakest part of this audiobook. Not awful, but it did not resonate with me overall as an accurate portrayal of the author's emotions, reflections or experiences. There were moments when it grated on me, but all in all I was able to disregard it enough to appreciate, and be engrossed in, the content of this book. Had the narration been superior, I would have given the audiobook an overall 5 star rating. Regardless of feeling the narration could have been much better, I still highly recommend this book in audio or print!
Didn't read the print version.
I enjoyed the opportunity to learn about a new subject first hand from the person who was intimate with it.
Avid listener ! Sucker for romance and memoirs
Remove those too much medical terms
Add a little spice
Don't waste your ones on this book
Mother of three wonderful girls! I love to listen to audiobooks during my commute. Love to hear about any good books.
This book was interesting and informative. It is not the typical type of book I read, but it kept me interested. This poor woman went through so much.
What can I say? This is a book that I will probably take back. And I take back maybe one percent of the books I buy, maybe less. I have more than 1000 books in my library and I think I've returned maybe two or three. So that is less than a percent. But I just couldn't get through this.
Watching this poor girl's life deteriorate while those around her just watched was just painful. If her account was accurate it was hard to believe that no one called her parents or that her boyfriend didn't react sooner or that her friends didn't figure out something was wrong much sooner.
That's about when I quit. I just couldn't take any more. Her accounts of what she was seeing and hearing and doing made absolutely no sense to me, which I guess was the point. However, I didn't find it any fun to hear about, read about, think about, remember or continue to listen to. I didn't understand any of it, and I felt so sorry for this young woman that I just couldn't continue. And this was way before she hit bottom.
For those of you who study these sorts of breakdowns or how the mind works, God bless you. I'm sure you found this fascinating. To me, it was just too sad to continue listening to.
The only flaw with this audiobook is that the narration speed is too fast. The story is engrossing and bewildering, and in wanting to absorb the details as they were presented, I chose to listen at half-speed.
This audio book was awful. It was recommended to me by someone and I wish I could punish them for the time that I wasted listening to about half of this book. The performance is cheesy at best -- over the top. The writing is self indulgent dribble. I neither care for or sympathize with the protagonist. In fact I hate her. I think the narrator was the worst choice possible, just listening to her voice makes me want to scream. I know this review seems over the top, but I honestly felt this way about this book! I literally had to stop listening it was so bad. I would definitely NOT recommend. For anyone. Just ugh. It makes me stabby just thinking about having to listen to one more second of it.
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