I Had Brain Surgery, What's Your Excuse?: An Illustrated Memoir

I Had Brain Surgery, What's Your Excuse?: An Illustrated Memoir

by Suzy Becker

Paperback(Readers Guide Included)



Now in paperback, the ingenious illustrated memoir that is widely praised:

“Hilarious, hell-raising, and frequently heart-wrenching.” —Booklist

“[A] unique tragicomedy of a memoir . . . The author is so likable, even in her darkest hour, that as you applaud her recovery you also realize you’ll miss looking after her.” —Entertainment Weekly (“A” rating)

“Compelling reading . . . Becker has turned one person’s experience into a universal story of family, healing, and the return to creativity.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“A wonderful book, funny and touching, harrowing and sweet.” —Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird

For years Suzy Becker, author of the New York Times bestseller All I Need to Know I Learned from My Cat (1.7 million copies in print), literally lived by her wits. Then brain surgery left her temporarily unable to speak, read, or write. I Had Brain Surgery, What's Your Excuse? is a story that grapples with the question “What makes me me?” By turns philosophical and whimsical, rivetingly dramatic and unexpectedly light, it is illustrated with drawings, charts, pseudoserious graphs, real EEGs. The result is a book filled with insights into creativity, identity, love, relationships, family, and that intangible something that gives each of us our spark.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780761139799
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date: 08/15/2005
Edition description: Readers Guide Included
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.94(w) x 7.96(h) x 0.81(d)

About the Author

Suzy Becker is an author, artist, and entrepreneur, a former White House Fellow (the Clinton administration), a Bunting Fellow at Radcliffe College, a winner of the Anti-Defamation League's "A World of Difference" award, and the founder of Ride FAR (Ride for AIDS Resources). Her books include the #1 New York Times bestseller All I Need to Know I Learned from My Cat, I Had Brain Surgery, What's Your Excuse?, and My Dog's the World's Best Dog. She lives with her family in central Massachusetts.

Read an Excerpt

Pre—Chapter One

TERRY GROSS (host of National Public Radio’s Fresh Air): My guest is
Suzy Becker, author of I Had Brain Surgery, What’s Your Excuse? She is also the author of three other books, including All I Need to Know I
Learned from My Cat
, an international bestseller in the 1990s. Suzy,
in addition to being a writer, you are a small-business owner, teacher—

ME: Was.

TG: —AIDS bike-a-thon organizer. Writing’s not exactly a sideline, but your life isn’t the quiet, contemplative writer’s life some might imagine . . .
ME: I discovered writing at the end of my career as a cat whisperer—

TG: There’s nothing about that in your bio.

I made it up—I’m making the whole thing up. It’s a form of procrastination, I
guess—making up interviews with myself on National Public Radio when I
should be working on my book.

TG: I’m going to disappoint a lot of listeners when I admit I was not a fan of your cat book—I’m not a cat person or a big fan of gift books in general, or whatever they call that genre. Your new book is altogether different, not an All I Need to Know I Learned from My CAT
. . .
ME: It still makes a nice gift—[wait, she should say that.]

TG: It’s nonfiction, very personal, a memoir of sorts. . . . People may think, brain surgery—who wants to read about that?! I wanted to tell you—I could relate to so much of what you wrote about and I
haven’t even had brain surgery! [We laugh.] You actually began working on this book while you were still recovering, is that correct?

ME: That draft ended up being more like notes than a book.

TG: I’m curious, at what point did you know—when the neurosurgeon told you you had a tumor and you were going to need brain surgery—
devastating news for most of us—as a writer, was there some little part of you that said, “I’m going to get a book out of this”?

ME: Terry, I’m a writer, not an alien. [I AM an alien. Writers don’t waste valuable writing time making up interviews.] I was devastated by the
\ news. As a writer, I think I knew I’d write about it as a way to record the experience, maybe get some perspective, but . . .

TG: So, you were this perfectly healthy person: You were—I should say are athletic, you play volleyball, do these biking marathons, then in
May of ’99 you have a seizure. . . .

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