Prognosis

A Memoir of My Brain
Narrated by: Cat Gould
Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins
4 out of 5 stars (136 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The searing, wry memoir about a woman’s fight for a new life after a devastating brain injury.

When PhD candidate Sarah Vallance is thrown from a horse and suffers a jarring blow to the head, she believes she walks away unscathed. The next morning, things take a sharp turn as she’s quickly led from work to the emergency room. By the end of the week, a neurologist delivers a devastating prognosis: Sarah suffered a traumatic brain injury that has caused her IQ to plummet, with no hope of recovery. Her brain has irrevocably changed.

Afraid of judgment, and deemed no longer fit for work or study, Sarah isolates herself from the outside world. With a disability pension that barely covers her grocery bills, Sarah spends months at home, with her dogs as her only source of companionship, battling a personality she no longer recognizes and plagued by overwhelming depression, uncontrollable rage, and the shock of losing simple functions she’d taken for granted. Once an ambitious young government executive, her life is consumed by fear and shame until a chance encounter gives Sarah hope that her brain can heal. That conversation lights a small flame of determination, and Sarah begins to push back, painstakingly reteaching herself to read and write, and eventually reentering the workforce and a new, if unpredictable, life.

In this highly intimate account of devastation and renewal, Sarah pulls back the curtain on life with traumatic brain injury, an affliction where the wounds are invisible and the lasting effects are often unknown and misunderstood. Over years of frustrating setbacks and uncertain triumphs, Sarah comes to terms with her disability and finds love with a woman who helps her embrace a new, accepting sense of self.

©2019 Sarah Vallance (P)2019 Brilliance Audio, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"Powerful in its depiction of the author’s will to rise above the limitations of her disability.... With a mission of giving voice to the voiceless, Vallance shares the little-understood experience of surviving a traumatic brain injury." (Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating and inspiring

When you find out what it took for Ms Vallance to write this book, you'll be awed. The writing is excellent and the performance is brilliant.

4 people found this helpful

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Awesome

A great book especially because I also having a TBI have a lot in common with Sarah!

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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interesting but jarring

At first I thought the reader was the writer - the accent makes the story feel authentic. The story is quite jarring in its baldface presentation of the challenges faced by the author due to traumatic brain injury. I don't regret listening to this story and I learned alot but the story is a not an easy one. I admire the author's ability to keep on keeping on.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Un-put-downable!!

Loved the main character, her honesty and integrity. The fear of being "found out" as brain injured is all pervasive among the population of people who've had brain trauma, stroke and similar (less visible) disabilities. Brain injury is little understood and first person presentations like this by Sarah Vallance, will help demystify the lives these people live.

You might (at times) weep along with Sarah and (then) smile at the role played by her canine off-siders, especially George the lovable Labrador.

Narrator Cat Gould gave the story exuberance and flow inviting the listener to feel part of Sarah's journey.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Fast-paced and involving

Sarah Vallance is the only author listed, but it's hard to believe that someone with an IQ of about 90 and some significant cognitive deficits could have written this detailed and rather eloquent account. It's certainly interesting--but it left me wondering what was left out.

1 person found this helpful

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I enjoyed it

I was fascinated from the beginning to the end. The book has a sense of humor notwithstanding its tragic topic.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Not what I expected

I like memoirs and would have enjoyed this book much more if it didn't include all the details about her lesbian partners and lifestyle. I had to force myself to finish it. I think I'll be returning it.

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Hopeful and Inspiring

Inspirational to say the least. Gives hope to anyone that us dealing with a head injury and reminds me to not take our elderly parents or brains for granted!

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LOVED

Raw, beautiful and truthful. There was no sugar coating anything. This is about the horror of having a traumatic brain injury and no one taking what she says seriously. “You’re fine,” people say to her constantly. Its about the struggles that come with trying to tell people that there is something wrong and going crazy when no one believes her. I loved it.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Too monotone

Struggled to finish this book. I would not recommend because I have never fallen asleep reading till this book.

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  • IRB
  • 01-08-20

I couldn't finish it.

This may be a good story but I found the narration so insipid that I just couldn't continue.