The Searing, Wry Memoir About A Woman S Fight For A New Life After A Devastating Brain Injury When Sarah Vallance Is Thrown From A Horse And Suffers A Jarring Blow To The Head, She Believes She S Walked Away Unscathed The Next Morning, Things Take A Sharp Turn As She S Led From Work To The Emergency Room By The End Of The Week, A Neurologist Delivers A Devastating Prognosis Sarah Suffered A Traumatic Brain Injury That Has Caused Her IQ To Plummet, With No Hope Of Recovery Her Brain Has Irrevocably Changed.Afraid Of Judgment And Deemed No Longer Fit For Work, Sarah Isolates Herself From The Outside World She Spends Months At Home, With Her Dogs As Her Only Source Of Companionship, Battling A Personality She No Longer Recognizes And Her Shock And Rage Over Losing Simple Functions She D Taken For Granted Her Life Is Consumed By Fear And Shame Until A Chance Encounter Gives Sarah Hope That Her Brain Can Heal That Conversation Lights A Small Flame Of Determination, And Sarah Begins To Push Back, Painstakingly Reteaching Herself To Read And Write, And Eventually Reentering The Workforce And A New, If Unpredictable, Life.In This Highly Intimate Account Of Devastation And Renewal, Sarah Pulls Back The Curtain On Life With Traumatic Brain Injury, An Affliction Where The Wounds Are Invisible And The Lasting Effects Are Often Misunderstood Over Years Of Frustrating Setbacks And Uncertain Triumphs, Sarah Comes To Terms With Her Disability And Finds Love With A Woman Who Helps Her Embrace A New, Accepting Sense Of Self. Not your typical white woman memoir of healing and redemption Vallance s rendering of her life is told with brutal honesty and minimalist mush which just happen to include moments of humour and tenderness when confronted with the various faces of death I laughed when I wanted to cry and vice versa. If you like Oliver Sack s article about face blindness New Yorker or his books particularly Uncle Tungsten and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat , you will love this book.Before I get into why this is an amazing book I ve seen a few reviews by people who gave an unthinking criticism of the book because they believe that the author hates animals or is cruel to them Those people really didn t get the book and or didn t read the book through This is the story of a woman who loves animals I mean, really loves them she even loves the animal who was involved in her near life destroying injury There s a particular very upsetting decision in the book, and yes, you may be upset about the episode importantly, you re supposed to be So I d suggest read what the author has to say about the particular event that upset some readers read how she looks at herself because of that event she s not giving herself a pass look at how it impacts her future decisions make sure to finish the book Autobiographers can choose leave things out to make themselves look better, and the fact that this author didn t leave this out tells you a lot about her story and about her love for other creatures Now, about the book as a whole As an M.D and a person with a serious chronic illness, I get VERY tired of feel good stories about near fatal illnesses with simplistic arcs in which a savior a doctor, a treatment, God, a lover, whatever either fixes the illness or reconciles the patient to death Some other reviewers have said the same thing, and I agree that Vallance s approach to her condtion is what makes this book so special This memoir is not one of those easy feel goods Vallance is honest about how TBI affects every part of her life her love life, her family, her education, her career, her living situations , and the mistakes she makes that are NOT about TBI she s unflinching about herself, which is the ultimate sign of a good memoirist She s is unsparing about the ups and downs, the periodic helplessness, the moments of hope that people with serious injury or illness go through as they accommodate and battle a recalcitrant body She tells the truths of serious illnesses, not a pretty, chocolate box, Hallmark story Unlike a lot of memoirs, this book is informative as well as personal it puts in a lot of really good information how so much of what s done to help manage TBI and other neurological illnesses e.g Alzheimer s are piecemeal, guesswork, case by case, and trial and error Having to learn how to live with an illness that doesn t have a simple, easily identifiable cause, or an obvious mechanism and progression of illness is one of the hardest things a person can do and harder still when it s unclear what your long term prognosis is Vallance tells us about herself honestly, but never at the expense of the story The book is beautifully written, factual information gently added to the recounting of her adult life, so that anyone interested in what it s like when your brain changes on you will find both a moving story and information on what we know about TBI This is one of the best books I ve read this year. I do not like many memoirs, but this book reeled me in from the first page I read it in two days Wonderful insight into what it s like to have a brain injury, and how to pick yourself up and keep going when all the odds are against you It s also funny This was a free Prime First Read selection for July I feel a little apathetic giving 2 stars to someone who penned a memoir about recovering and living with a traumatic brain injury But I m keeping it real While I can admire Sarah Vallance for sharing and relating her calamitous accident it did not make for an engaging story The entire retelling felt devoid of any emotion It was a rather dull read, and I found myself skimming pages. This is a work of phenomenal power Vallance s story is one of courage and tenacity, revealing the need for a better understanding of Traumatic Brain Injury and its terrifying consequences With wit and intelligence, Vallance chronicles her journey through experiences that would cause a lesser individual to give up This memoir will make you appreciate the power of language and Vallance s ability to wield it affectively Brimming with a viscerality that will make you both laugh and cry, Prognosis A Memoir of My Brain is a text that will remain with you, long after you have closed its final chapter. It is not often you get to read the pages of someone s life with such openness, honesty, kindness and determination This is a book I could not put down and was inspired beyond all else by the bravery, courage, intelligence and beauty of Sarah s story It brings awareness to Traumatic Brain Injury TBI as well gently unfolds the fear, loneliness, grit and hope of this wonderful woman Her story is a must read and one that teaches us to not judge, but rather seek to understand everyone s story You simply must read this incredible book. Sarah Vallance s Prognosis is a must read It is in turn witty, brutally honest, heartbreaking and uplifting Rocking along at a good pace it keeps the reader riveted I absolutely loved reading this book An amazing achievement by a talented new writer I highly recommended it. Vallances deeply personal memoir is both beautiful and utterly absorbing With intellect humour and compassion, she weaves together the multiple and complex strands, of her own very personal journey back from profound brain injury Told with an unflinching and often confronting honesty, A memoir of my brain is moving, reflective and ultimately a hugely rewarding read. an Incredibly emotionally ravaging and inspiring account of life after a brain injury this books draws you in from the first page and keeps the pace going as you join in an incredible journey of pain, loss, discovery and hope A must read for anyone who loves memoirs. Inspirational Brutally honest In turns funny and heartbreaking With wry humor, this book had me riveted from the first page The resilience of human spirit that refuses to be daunted by adversity It s a story that needs to be shared I highly recommend this book.