Customer Reviews for

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Average Rating 4.5
( 210 )
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(116)

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(22)

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(8)

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(3)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

74 out of 78 people found this review helpful.

Profoundly moving, comelling ndconsuming

This is a profoundly moving, true story of a young woman who, over the course of a few weeks, spirals into almost total madness. Her loved ones stay by her side throughout her month long hospitalization watching doctor after doctor doing test after test handing down di...
This is a profoundly moving, true story of a young woman who, over the course of a few weeks, spirals into almost total madness. Her loved ones stay by her side throughout her month long hospitalization watching doctor after doctor doing test after test handing down diagnosis after diagnosis. When a doctor mentions a rare disease that may be the cause of the young woman’s illness, her parents are left to decide whether or not to allow a test that may cause permanent brain damage.
Susannah Cahalan’s account of her life before, during and after her battle with mental illness is very well written and surprisingly readable. As she delves into the working of the human brain the reading becomes a little dry but by the next paragraph, the reader is once again swept up into a story that is consuming and compelling.
I was extremely moved by this book and strongly recommend it.

posted by NJ-Nina on November 11, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

It gets old fast

After the initial wow and OMG it becomes repetative and I got bored and didn't finish it.

posted by voyager8 on December 10, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2013

    so far...so very very good

    Just read the first few chapters but I'm really enjoying this book; very happy with the purchase.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2013

    Compelling read

    I picked up this book because my friend's granddaughter (who is only 16 months old) may have this condition. It was a compelling and harrowing read and helped me understand what the family is trying to cope with.
    I thank the author for her courage in dealing with NMDAR, but also for her courage in fully exploring what happened to her. It has been so enlightening.
    Please pray for all those who are dealing with this horrible condition.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2013

    great story

    I thought this was a great story and I'm glad she had the support and help to tell it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2013

    Really great account of a scary illness.

    This was a great book. The first - first hand account of a major illness documented from the begining that I have ever read. A good read and I believe will give hope to families who are struggling with
    illnesses related to this.

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  • Posted January 20, 2013

    This is how your review will appear: 4.0 out of 5 stars Chill

    This is how your review will appear:


    4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling Autobiography, January 20, 2013
    By MOONBEAM - See all my reviewsThis review is from: Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness (Hardcover)
    As an aspiring young journalist, Susannah Cahalan is on a fast track to success. Things begin to go awry when she experiences strange and inexplicable behaviour. The symptons quickly progress and she is admitted to the hospital where she begins her nightmare. Several doctors and a battery of testing with Susannah fails to find a diagnosis. Her symptoms get worse. Thankfully, her parents and new boyfriend stand by her side through this ordeal as she truly is going through hell. Through perserverence, one doctor discovers abnormal white blood count trhrough a spinal tap and is finally able to uncover a diagnosis. The diagnosis turns out to be a newly discovered autoimmune disorder.

    As this disorder is explored, it is realized that there have been potentially hundreds or thousands of people misdiagnosed in the past. The symptoms are indicitive of autism, phychosis, insanity, and even demonic possession. It is frightening to think of poor souls suffering when there is solution to this disorder, if only known before the exploitation of this brave lady.

    This is a fascinating and interesting story that is hard to put down. I did find, however, that sections tended to drag with inundated medical terminology and superfluous clinical verbiage that seemed an unnecessary addition.

    This book guarantees to generate plenty of discussion, and is highly recommended for medical students and book clubs.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2013

    Given what the autoimmune disease that attacked Cahalan's brain

    Given what the autoimmune disease that attacked Cahalan's brain did to her, it doesn't surprise me that the strongest parts flowed from her use of her investigative skills on herself and the people closest to her. THis book is nothing if not an investigtion by a reporter of the subject of life and death - her own.

    Susannah Cahalan was a young powerhouse of a reporter before TV ever brought us "Girls" She had no problem pitching and executing stories, and in fact, the job and her life were one and the same. Even the boyfriend wound into the Chinese finger puzzle of her life.

    Until IT happened. And kept happening, and left a fiery, life-of-the-party blonde a foaming, paranoid, nonfunctioning wreck of a zombie woman. No one could figure out what IT was. A top neurologist swore that IT was alcohol and stress. But it wasn't thaat, or drugs, or a bite, or a psychotic break.

    As Cahlan and her family grope for answers, they find any number of people, professional clinicians, who were ready consign her to the loony bin - "she's beyond the range of medical science: one said. One day, a differential test to distinguish between hemispheres brought her psychopathy into the realm of the real: Her brain was under attack!

    Cahalan leads us through an interesting medical case from the first person. In so doing, she impresses on us that there is no reason that it could not have been us. As strong an experience this gives, it could be stronger. Cahalan speculates on the what-if case: what if she hadn't been near NYU and the leading scientist in this disorder? Why did she not follow a patient who was not so lucky, and bring her good fortune into question? It would have increased the tension when halfway through the book it is clear that the author would make it back

    I would call this a minor blemish, partially offset by a keen sense of self awareness during the long road back. Leave it to a journalist to proclaim the danger of getting sick1 I would recomment Brain On Fire to any medical professional and anyone who is fond of a medical thriller.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 13, 2013

    Interesting story...

    Her memoir in combination with the medical info really explain what she went through. It's hard to imagine so many others who might be suffering with the same thing and have doctors who have never heard of it or don't know what to do.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent

    amazing story of a medical illness and her recovery

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    Very good book

    I really enjoyed reading this book. It was very insightful, learning about this condition. Well written, very detailed, it read like a novel. I definitely recommend!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    Excellent Read

    Very interesting and scary based on the life and symptoms this poor girl had to endure. Luckily she was diagnosed but it seems that so many aren't as lucky.

    Would highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    Couldn't put it down! Good book--sad that the author and her fam

    Couldn't put it down! Good book--sad that the author and her family went through such a difficult time but happy she is ok!

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  • Posted December 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Brain on Fire

    I am still reading the book I am finding it very interesting I have just gotten to the part where they have finally found out what has been causing Susannah all the problem I want to finish and find out if she is ever able to return to "Normal" I hope so she had a very rewarding career in the news field.

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