Brain On Fire Book Review

Brain On Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan is a rather interesting memoir/autobiography.

It was a day just like any other day when Susannah began experiencing bipolar like symptoms. One minute she felt extremely elated and the next minute extremely depressed. She initially assumed she was just overworked and in need of rest but then her mood swings became more frequent and either followed or preceded seizures.

Luckily, her boyfriend and parents were able to eventually coax her into visiting a specialist. Once at the hospital, Susannah ends up being misdiagnosed multiple times by multiple doctors. It turns out that she was exhibiting symptoms from more than a handful of neurological disorders.

She is eventually correctly diagnosed by Dr. Souhel Najjar with Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis. Which is a disease that occurs when antibodies produced by the body’s own immune system attack NMDA receptors in the brain.

I gotta admit… for the first half of this book I was so engrossed in it that there were times when I wondered if maybe I had experienced similar symptoms in my own daily life. But then I quickly realized that I was just allowing my imagination to get the better of me.

The other half of the book seemed somewhat overwrought with details but that’s probably due to the fact that Susannah Cahalan has no real recollection of what she experienced and had to sift through a pile of notebooks, journals and security camera footage from her month long stay at the hospital.

I don’t want to give away too much but it definitely has a happy ending.

There’s also a movie adaptation due out in theaters later this year. That actress Chloe Grace Moretz is supposed to portray Susannah Cahalan. I’m somewhat interested in watching it.

Overall I give Brain On Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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