Brain On Fire: My Month of Sadness By Susannah Cahalan |Book Review


“Someone once asked, “If you could take it all back, would you?” At the time I didn’t know. Now I do. I wouldn’t take that terrible experience back for anything in the world. Too much light has come out of my darkness.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re doing well. So, I’ve been in a weird reading mood ever since I finished reading  A Little Life. It’s like I want to read something light and funny, but I can’t bring myself to choose one. And after so much thinking, I’ve realized that I’m going through a phase where all I want to read is sad and heart wrenching books. So, I decided to read Brain On fire, and I wasn’t disappointed at all. To be honest, I don’t read memoirs that much, because I’m afraid that I’ll lose interest in finishing the entire book. But, I finished this one in one sitting, because it was too interesting to actually put down. So, without further ado, let’s review this book!

This is a true story about a journalist named Susannah Cahalan. When she graduated from college, she started working at the New York post. She finally had everything figured out. She had a boyfriend, a loving family, an exciting career that she dedicated herself to, and her own place. One day, she started having those compulsive thoughts to do things she’s never done before, and act differently from the way she used to. She thought she was having an intense flu, but that was totally wrong. One afternoon, She had an emotional breakdown in the office and she started crying and yelling until she passed out. Every doctor she went to, thought she was having schizophrenia or depression. But all her medical results were totally fine. Despite that, her health was getting worse day by day, and she was having psychotic episodes. However, throughout the book we follow her complicated recovery journey from a mysterious illness, and how it had affected her life.

The way she talked and explained her life during that painful period was so touching to the point where it made me cry. Staying in the hospital and having repetitive therapy sessions were too much for her. All the doctors couldn’t find what was wrong with her, until Dr. Najjar found out the name of  her rare brain disease. After that, she started getting better and got back to her normal life again. In the book she talked about how she didn’t remember anything from that specific period of her illness, and how her family explained to her the way she was back then. She also helped so many people who were having the same disease as her, and some of them were cured because of her. I really find it so fascinating that the human body is like a machine, and if one part stopped working, then everything will go down. It’s such an incredible, terrifying, and a raw memoir about what it’s like to be misunderstood by others, and having hope for things to get better in the end. This is one of those books that I’ll definitely recommend everyone to read, because trust me, you won’t regret it.


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