Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness - Susannah Cahalan This was a very enjoyable read. This is a non-fiction memoir about Susannah Cahalan's terrifying experience with a rare autoimmune disorder. Susannah was a healthy 24 year old reporter for the New York Post when she fell ill. It started with flu-like symptoms, then it became worse- seizures, hallucinations, paranoia, psychosis, violent mood-swings, eventually she had trouble moving and speaking (catatonia). She was almost diagnosed with some mental illness when Dr. Souhel Najjar joined the team and saved her life. He realized she had a rare autoimmune disease that was tied to schizophrenia and autism. There is some science in this book, but it is relatively easy to understand and all completely necessary. Overall, it was a fascinating read. I am only giving it three stars for a few reasons- firstly, something about it seemed impersonal and detached. Considering Ms. Cahalan was writing about her own experiences, I couldn't really feel her emotions about the whole thing. I didn't truly see how she felt. I guess that was because most of it isn't actual memory- a lot of the events were the recollections of others. And the second reason I only gave Brain on Fire three stars was, while an enjoyable and fascinating read, it is not one of my favorites.