Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan (2012)

Rating: 4.2 Stars.17225848.jpg

I’m a sucker for memoirs, and I’m actually quite surprised that I only came across this book recently, but what a fascinating piece.

Susannah Cahalan is a journalist who tells the story of an illness that struck her and in essence, incapacitated her. Having lost all memory of a month of her life, she goes back, using her investigative reporter skills in search of the truth about how she lived through this illness.

Cahalan does a remarkable job expressing the story in a narrative structure. I had not done any research on Cahalan, so I let myself get sucked into the mystery of what her ailment could possibly be. It would have been a very different reading experience had I already known the result.

Some of the difficulty I have with memoirs is that the individual, although may have an interesting story to tell – isn’t the greatest writer. Cahalan is a superb author. I couldn’t put this book down and finished it within a day. I just found it so fascinating how she could look at herself on video footage and find herself completely unrecognizable, to have such a disconnect as to have no memory of even experiencing what she is witnessing. I will definitely be using this book in my memoir unit in my grade 8 classroom.

Recommendations: If you like memoirs, this is pretty fantastic. Its clean and safe for anyone to read. If you’re interested in this book, do yourself a favour and let the story unfold, as the mystery really drives the story forward.


About K2Harvey

Reading, and writing about it.
This entry was posted in Adult Fiction, Four Star+ Books, Literature, Memoir and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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