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Publisher's Summary

Includes a brand-new afterword, written and read by the author

Now a major motion picture starring Chloë Grace Moretz 

An award-winning memoir and instant New York Times best seller 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 24-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.

©2012 Susannah Cahalan (P)2020 Simon & Schuster Audio

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What listeners say about Brain on Fire

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A must read for anyone in the medical field, and anyone who has ever gone undiagnosed.

What an incredible story. As a NeuroICU RN and as a patient who has experienced my own share of horrors, but who has never had the dedication or the ability to articulate my own story, I was moved from start to finish with this book. Susannah Cahalan has both the reporting genius and dedication to put down in words what too many have endured in their most vulnerable states. Eloquently written and supported with phenomenal research, we are given an inside look at *the patient and their family* that has not to my knowledge been duplicated. I suggest any person working in some form or capacity in heath care should read this amazing account, so that we may better understand what our duty to our patients really is. More than simply treating symptoms when the illness doesn’t fit neatly into our preconceived notions, our responsibility is to work tirelessly to find the source. I cannot day enough about this well written work, or my gratitude to Susannah for giving us all this most precious and personal gift.

4 people found this helpful

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Brain food aflame

You only learn from problems and practice. Her passionate need to find a diagnosis told through her own words and fevered brain teach and they do so with compassion for as she put it: those awaiting diagnosis and thus answers.

2 people found this helpful

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Required Reading

This book should be required reading for neurology, immunology & psychiatry students. People look to doctors for answers, pressing for a disgnosis. Doctors must remain open minded that mental health is not independent of physical health. This is a story of hope for anyone fighting for an accurate diagnosis. And a reminder that there are still plenty of doctors who remember their patients, are people.

1 person found this helpful

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Remarkable Novel

As a psychologist, understanding and hearing the details about experiences like this is imperative. This is a valuable piece of autobiographical material which everyone in the fields of medicine, psychology, behavioral health, psychiatry, speech and language, physical therapy, and occupational therapy should hear. However, it is a wonderful piece of literature for everyone, even outside of those fields. Thank you to Susannah Cahalan for her bravery and transparency with her experiences.

1 person found this helpful

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First person insanity

I've never seen madness explained as clearly as this. No description I've read by doctors, scientists, psychologists, or drug users has been this spot-on or relatable. One of the most illuminating and terrifying books I've yet listened to.

As for the story, this is basically, in the best possible way, a marathon episode of House without the rude doctor or office politics.

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A must book for all students searching

Searching for a career - a passion - a reason to work to write . This needs to be added to required books for high school. Watching the movie first when I woke up with my brain on fire inspired getting this book.

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Amazing.

It was absolutely astonishing. On the edge of my seat at every chapter. The crazy part is that it is all non-fictional. I am beyond inspired by your story. You are an inspiration!

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incredible.

At 20 I was diagnosed with cancer and then relapsed at 21 and underwent a stem cell transplant. although this illness is far cry from the type of illness Susannah experience, I was astounded at how much I related to her healing experience. As a recent graduate with a BS in psychology, her experience was riveting to me, and as a 22 year old healing from a critical month in the hospital her story and vulnerability was comforting and understanding.

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Great Read!

Wow! What a story Susannah has to tell and she does an absolutely amazing job doing it. A lot of times it’s harder to listen when the author is the one who narrates the book, but she does a great job. I was hooked from the beginning. 5/5 I highly recommend

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Rare moving first person view on mental illnesses

This book is fantastic. I finished it in two days. It reminded me of "Chasing My Cure." This book provides a rare first person view into mental illness which I very much appreciate.