So far, “Brain on Fire,” has been unlike any book I have ever read. It is a memoir that tells the story of a terrifying experience in the life of Susannah Cahalan. One day, Susannah became paranoid, confused, and angry for seemingly no reason. Her brain seemed to stop working. Little did she know, her symptoms would escalate and eventually place her in a hospital bed. Her terrific memoir has so far been an interesting and exciting read, and I have been unable to put the book down.
Susannah is a journalist for the New York Post, so it is understandable that her memoir is written so well. So far, she has done a great job of narrating her own story while also teaching the reader about the brain, body, and her rare symptoms. Not only have I been entranced by her personal experience, but I have also found myself extremely interested in what I have learned. For anyone who is interested in psychology or the medical field, I greatly recommend this book.
The author’s impressive writing style has kept me turning pages throughout the whole first half of the memoir. Her use of foreshadowing especially has captivated me and encouraged me to keep reading. For example, after initially explaining her strange symptoms and habits, she ends the chapter with: “The doctors don’t actually know how it began for me. What’s clear is that if that man had sneezed on you, you’d most likely just get a cold. For me, it flipped my universe upside down and very nearly sent me to an asylum for life” (Cahalan 9). Susannah includes interesting foreshadowing like this all throughout her writing. It is effective in keeping the reader engaged. Also, I enjoyed Susannah’s inclusion of “you.” I have become so used to formal literature that it is nice to read a more personal form of writing.
Overall, Susannah’s incorporation of her personal story and interesting information has kept me on the edge of my seat. Paired with her foreshadowing, “Brain on Fire” has been impossible to put down. I am excited to continue the book, as I am almost sure it will be just as good or better than the first half.