“Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness” by Susannah Cahalan

This was recommended both in Entertainment Weekly and by a friend, plus I’m on a memoir tear lately, so thought Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan would be a good fit.

Cahalan was a young, successful newspaper reporter when she started having mental and physical problems. She was tested, hospitalized and declining until a team of doctors worked to test a diagnosis for something new.

Cahalan has carefully reconstructed details of her decline and hospitalization both from tapes, patient records, interviews and more. She herself remembers little to none of the worst month of her illness.

Her story was intriguing, and soundly written, but by the end I didn’t fully engage with it. There was something about it that lacked a depth of insight, or humility, or some element that would make this resonate with me on a deeper level.

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