Cahalan was a promising young reporter when she woke up one morning and began going insane. She and her family believed there was an underlying medical issue, but doctors weren’t convinced. Both a terrifying medical mystery and a moving portrait of one family’s dedication, this is a powerful, completely engrossing memoir. Not for hypochondriacs!
November 2012 Indie Next List
“A young reporter's near-death experience started with what seemed to be a bedbug bite, followed by an out-of-character migraine. Cahalan forgot a pitch meeting. She snooped on her boyfriend's email. Beloved newspaper clippings were tossed. Garbage piled up in her apartment. And then the seizures began. This compelling story of one woman's descent into madness and the equally horrifying journey of her family to find suitable help works both as a great literary memoir as well as a well-reported medical mystery. You might say the result is Girl, Interrupted with a dash of The Hot Zone and a sprinkling of The Exorcist!”
— Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
An award-winning memoir and instant "New York Times" bestseller that goes far beyond its riveting medical mystery, "Brain on Fire" is the powerful account of one woman's struggle to recapture her identity. When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she'd gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened? In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family's inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn't happen. "A fascinating look at the disease that . . . could have cost this vibrant, vital young woman her life" ("People"), "Brain on Fire" is an unforgettable exploration of memory and identity, faith and love, and a profoundly compelling tale of survival and perseverance that is destined to become a classic.