Brain On Fire My Month Of Madness Analysis

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Mortality is the orphaned offspring of human existence. Haunting one’s daily actions, it lurks in the shadows, the close calls, and in one other unexpected place- one’s body. In her memoir, Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, reporter Susannah Cahalan recounts her body’s betrayal and its aftermath, painting a devastating and hopeful portrait of her condition. Enthralling and terrifying, Susannah’s report of her survival is a must-read. Quite novel in its subject matter, Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness is remarkable because it commences with the author’s admission that she remembers next to nothing of the events detailed within.“Because of the nature of my illness, and its effect on my brain, I remember only flashes of actual events… The vast majority of that time remains blank or capriciously hazy” (Cahalan XI). Susannah’s aforementioned illness was an autoimmune disease that caused hallucinations, paranoia, and stripped her of her cognitive skills as her body attempted to kill her brain,…show more content…
While reviewing a tape of her time in the hospital, Susannah details her feelings on the scene: “The raw panic makes me uncomfortable, but the thing that truly unsettles me is the realization that emotions I once felt so profoundly, so viscerally, have no completely vanished”(Cahalan 175). It is with this scrutiny of the woman in the tapes that one can begin to comprehend and internalize her situation. Oftentimes, it seems that the material presented in a memoir is too detailed, too structured to be anything but a literary work; intimacy with one’s own story will always be the memoirist’s achilles heel. However, in the case of this singular novel, no detail is too planned, no character too perfect: everything is believably, achingly, and exquisitely

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