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Publishers WeeklyHaving just graduated from college, Krug and her dreamy French boyfriend, Claude (a man given to wearing his button-down shirts buttoned halfway up), leave the flatlands of Kansas for Santa Barbara, California-there, Krug finds a reporting job covering high society "gardens, weddings, and pets," and Claude gets a gig with a local paper. Young, in love, gainfully employed, and living close to the coast, post-collegiate life couldn't be better-day after day "they drink Mexican beer and wear bathing suits indoors. They do drugs and wander through organic markets, spotting celebrities." But just weeks after settling in, Krug suffers a "severe" cavernous angioma in her brain. She gets dizzy, she can't walk, and it soon becomes clear that brain surgery is inevitable, and life will never be the same. In gracefully stark prose, Krug narrates in the third person the implosion of what should've been her gilded life, the sad and prolonged dissolution of her relationship with Claude, and her transformation from "the kind of girl other girls only pretended to like" to a wife, mother, and PhD candidate back in Kansas. Interspersed throughout are fictional imaginings of the perspectives of her loved ones as she endures numerous surgeries and years of physically and emotionally excruciating rehab. Supplemented with facsimiles of the "Illustrated Facial Exercises" she used to work damaged muscles, as well as other medical documents, Krug's story is an immediate, unsparing, and beautifully rendered account of loss and recovery.
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