Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

by Susannah Cahalan

Free Press | November 13, 2012 | Kobo Edition (eBook)

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness is rated 4.8333 out of 5 by 6.
One day in 2009, twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. A wristband marked her as a “flight risk,” and her medical records—chronicling a monthlong hospital stay of which she had no memory at all—showed hallucinations, violence, and dangerous instability. Only weeks earlier, Susannah had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: a healthy, ambitious college grad a few months into her first serious relationship and a promising career as a cub reporter at a major New York newspaper. Who was the stranger who had taken over her body? What was happening to her mind?

In this swift and breathtaking narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her inexplicable descent into madness and the brilliant, lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen. A team of doctors would spend a month—and more than a million dollars—trying desperately to pin down a medical explanation for what had gone wrong. Meanwhile, as the days passed and her family, boyfriend, and friends helplessly stood watch by her bed, she began to move inexorably through psychosis into catatonia and, ultimately, toward death. Yet even as this period nearly tore her family apart, it offered an extraordinary testament to their faith in Susannah and their refusal to let her go.

Then, at the last minute, celebrated neurologist Souhel Najjar joined her team and, with the help of a lucky, ingenious test, saved her life. He recognized the symptoms of a newly discovered autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks the brain, a disease now thought to be tied to both schizophrenia and autism, and perhaps the root of “demonic possessions” throughout history.

Far more than simply a riveting read and a crackling medical mystery, Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman’s struggle to recapture her identity and to rediscover herself among the fragments left behind. Using all her considerable journalistic skills, and building from hospital records and surveillance video, interviews with family and friends, and excerpts from the deeply moving journal her father kept during her illness, Susannah pieces together the story of her “lost month” to write an unforgettable memoir about memory and identity, faith and love. It is an important, profoundly compelling tale of survival and perseverance that is destined to become a classic.

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: November 13, 2012

Publisher: Free Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1451621396

ISBN - 13: 9781451621396

Found in: Biography and Memoir

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Eye-opening It is hard to believe this is an accounting of true events. This was a truly frightening read. Susannah was a perfectly functional healthy 24 year old before she went positively mad. While we know how this book ends (Susannah is lucid enough to author this memoir after all!), it is an enthralling read. I learned alot about a "new" disease, the difficulty of diagnosis and how our bodies while miraculous, can turn on themselves seemingly without notice. Even though this was a memoir, it reminded me alot of the books written by Lisa Genova: a very approachable writing style, intensely interesting and human, but with an eye opening lesson about a novel medical condition. A quick and informative read.
Date published: 2013-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Interesting! When I picked this book out, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. It was in the front of the Chapter's bookstore, so I didn't realize that it was an actual true story about Susannah Cahalan. As I began reading through it, I found I had a hard time putting the book down. The story was so interesting and the illness that she had was very different. I'd never heard of anything like that before. I just wanted to know what was wrong with her and if she was ever going to get better. It was a great read!
Date published: 2013-04-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such a great book! Absolutely loved this book. The story was very well written. It had the perfect balance between medical terms/explanations and emotion. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it and felt myself wanting to know more about the author and others who have similar stories. I would definitely recommend this book to friends.
Date published: 2013-04-08
Rated out of 5 by from Incredible book. I read it in one sitting. I am usually a mystery fan, but this fit the bill as it was not written as a typical autobiography.
Date published: 2013-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it it is clear to see the journey that writing this book has to have been. The level of detail and obvious rawness of the events is a testimony to the family, professionals and to the author. Fascinating.
Date published: 2013-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! This book was really good, I read it in 1 day!
Date published: 2013-02-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Fascinating read! As a person who has dealt with Autoimmune diseases for most of my life, this story rang so true for me in many ways. Also, as a nurse I am very impressed how the author was able to write this story in away that is understanding to both medical professional and lay-person.
Date published: 2013-02-05

– More About This Product –

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

by Susannah Cahalan

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: November 13, 2012

Publisher: Free Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1451621396

ISBN - 13: 9781451621396

From the Publisher

One day in 2009, twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. A wristband marked her as a “flight risk,” and her medical records—chronicling a monthlong hospital stay of which she had no memory at all—showed hallucinations, violence, and dangerous instability. Only weeks earlier, Susannah had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: a healthy, ambitious college grad a few months into her first serious relationship and a promising career as a cub reporter at a major New York newspaper. Who was the stranger who had taken over her body? What was happening to her mind?

In this swift and breathtaking narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her inexplicable descent into madness and the brilliant, lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen. A team of doctors would spend a month—and more than a million dollars—trying desperately to pin down a medical explanation for what had gone wrong. Meanwhile, as the days passed and her family, boyfriend, and friends helplessly stood watch by her bed, she began to move inexorably through psychosis into catatonia and, ultimately, toward death. Yet even as this period nearly tore her family apart, it offered an extraordinary testament to their faith in Susannah and their refusal to let her go.

Then, at the last minute, celebrated neurologist Souhel Najjar joined her team and, with the help of a lucky, ingenious test, saved her life. He recognized the symptoms of a newly discovered autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks the brain, a disease now thought to be tied to both schizophrenia and autism, and perhaps the root of “demonic possessions” throughout history.

Far more than simply a riveting read and a crackling medical mystery, Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman’s struggle to recapture her identity and to rediscover herself among the fragments left behind. Using all her considerable journalistic skills, and building from hospital records and surveillance video, interviews with family and friends, and excerpts from the deeply moving journal her father kept during her illness, Susannah pieces together the story of her “lost month” to write an unforgettable memoir about memory and identity, faith and love. It is an important, profoundly compelling tale of survival and perseverance that is destined to become a classic.