Book Review: Brain On Fire (My Month Of Madness) by Susannah Cahalan

“When the brain is working to remember something, similar patterns of neurons fire as they did during the perception of the original event. These networks are linked, and each time we revisit them, they become stronger and more associated. But they need the proper retrieval cues--words, smells, images-- for them to be brought back as memories”

― Susannah Cahalan, Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Susannah Cahalan, a reporter for the New York Post, published her autobiography, Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, in 2012. The story of Cahalan's battle with a rare form of encephalitis and recovery is told in the book. It was initially released in hardcover on November 13, 2012, by Free Press, and after the two publishers combined, Simon & Schuster reissued it in paperback.

Brain on Fire is an immediate New York Times bestseller and award-winning memoir that goes well beyond its fascinating medical mystery to tell the moving story of one woman's fight to reclaim her identity. Cahalan relates the incredible real story of her journey into madness, her family's admirable confidence in her, and the life-saving diagnosis that almost didn't happen in a concise and breath-taking narrative.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

When twenty-four-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?

My reaction to this novel...

Yes, I just completed this ludicrous book. At first, I had no notion that this was based on true events. It was only after conducting some research that I learned about it. I adored reading tales that were based on events that happened in hospitals since I'm a nurse. Susanna was able to explain all that happened to her despite without any medical training. I can definitely say that she made it easy for the audience to understand what had happened to her.

The book has a fast pace. I wasn't aware until three that I was reading constantly. She took me to a world filled with delusions. I thought I was hallucinating because I was so afraid. It appeared as though I had entered her world and was now confined there. It's frightful. I realized that I was concerned about whatever illness she may have. I was shocked to learn that her condition was unknown. Even the best physician was unable to diagnose her condition right away. Susanna is exceptional. She is a strong lady.

Susanna demonstrated the nature of true delusions. Her narrative was captivating. Since it occurred to her, the way she delivered it has been a frequent topic of concern for me. It was difficult for me to believe she had truly gone through it. After reading, I decided to check her up and was astounded by how vivid and lovely she is. After reading this, you won't believe she endured all of those horrible things.

As of right now, I still haven't seen the movie, but I'm excited to. This makes the book enlightening. I think everyone should be aware of her story. Some of us could be judgmental when it comes to mental illnesses, yet little is known about them. We will never be able to fully understand what goes on within our bodies and minds. I would fervently advise everyone to read this.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨(4.5/5)

“Sometimes, Just when we need them, life wraps metaphors up in little bows for us. When you think all is lost, the things you need the most return unexpectedly.”

Sometimes, we may feel that fate has its way of making fun of us. Sometimes, when we are looking for lost things, we cannot find them even if we search hard enough for them. And sometimes, when we let go and go with the flow, the things that we have long been missing will eventually get back to us at the most unexpected times.

“To move foward, you have to leave the past behind”

Many of us are finding it difficult to go forward. I get how difficult it may be to let the past go, especially if it has had a significant impact on your life. However, moving on does not imply forgetting the past; rather, it means taking the lessons learned from it. to gain knowledge from prior events. Because it is undoubtedly true that when we are focused on remembering the past, it is difficult to turn a fresh chapter in our life. As a result, we may overlook the future, the present, or things that are currently within our grasp.


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