We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness | [Susannah Cahalan]

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

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
Regular Price:$23.07
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (1113 )
5 star
 (387)
4 star
 (444)
3 star
 (204)
2 star
 (51)
1 star
 (27)
Overall
4.1 (1002 )
5 star
 (415)
4 star
 (356)
3 star
 (173)
2 star
 (38)
1 star
 (20)
Story
4.1 (993 )
5 star
 (387)
4 star
 (376)
3 star
 (172)
2 star
 (38)
1 star
 (20)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Eileen ALBANY, OR, United States 03-01-13
    Eileen ALBANY, OR, United States 03-01-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Facinating and true Story with a great Ending"
    If you could sum up Brain on Fire in three words, what would they be?

    Frightening, Informative and Wondering


    What did you like best about this story?

    The insight into Schitzophrenia from the patient's experiences.


    Have you listened to any of Heather Henderson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    How here family stuck with her.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Colorado 06-05-14
    Mary Colorado 06-05-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    50
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    37
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Recommend!..Fascinating and Frightening true story"

    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!

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Molly Killefer 06-02-14 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    81
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Love to Learn"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Brain on Fire to be better than the print version?

    Didn't read the print version.


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed the opportunity to learn about a new subject first hand from the person who was intimate with it.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marian La Palma, CA, United States 05-22-14
    Marian La Palma, CA, United States 05-22-14 Member Since 2013

    Avid listener ! Sucker for romance and memoirs

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    15
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Only a physician would appreciate this book"
    What would have made Brain on Fire better?

    Remove those too much medical terms


    What could Susannah Cahalan have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Add a little spice


    What does Heather Henderson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    None


    What character would you cut from Brain on Fire?

    Doctors


    Any additional comments?

    Don't waste your ones on this book

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    aleshia Manchester, NH, United States 05-16-14
    aleshia Manchester, NH, United States 05-16-14 Member Since 2013

    Mother of three wonderful girls! I love to listen to audiobooks during my commute. Love to hear about any good books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    38
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting"

    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.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Hickory Creek, TX United States 03-20-14
    Daniel Hickory Creek, TX United States 03-20-14 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    112
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Just not my cup of tea"

    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.

    Respectfully submitted

    DJB

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine Ford Port Jefferson Station, NY United States 12-02-12
    Christine Ford Port Jefferson Station, NY United States 12-02-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    35
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Regarding the narration"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vermont_Gal Burlington, VT United States 12-19-13
    Vermont_Gal Burlington, VT United States 12-19-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Couldn't even finish it... It was that bad."
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 71-78 of 78 results PREVIOUS178NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.