This mesmerizing book by London neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan is a true gift to readers who may have brain injuries or disorders, and well beyond that population, to anyone interested in the brain and how its wounding shapes behavior ... The doctor comes across as compassionate and humble; she describes misdiagnoses and failures, as well as breakthroughs and near-cures. Her patients emerge as complex and strong people whose resilience she celebrates.
Fascinating ... these profiles poignantly capture the indiscriminate nature of epilepsy and its wide-ranging manifestations ... O’Sullivan’s prose strikes a balance between empathy and science, thoughtfully communicating each person’s story while explaining the uniqueness of his or her case and the intricacies of the brain. This book will especially appeal to those interested in medicine and education, anyone impacted by epilepsy, and all Oliver Sacks fans. Enlightening and humbling, O’Sullivan’s neurological detective work captures the mysterious nature of the brain and emphasizes how much more there is to learn.
O’Sullivan won acclaim with her first book, Is it All in Your Head? True Stories of Imaginary Illness, winning the 2016 Wellcome Book Prize. This is a terrific follow-up ... O’Sullivan’s patients help to tell the history of neurology and illustrate its hopeful breakthroughs ... In the space between cold diagnostic data and the personal challenges facing her patients, O’Sullivan’s sympathy, compassion and understanding come through ... Many mourn the passing of Oliver Sacks...who was known for his neurological case histories including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Brainstorm deserves a place on the same bookshelf.
Offers fascinating insights ... O’Sullivan is a sure guide to these maverick brains and strange auras ... she is careful not to pass judgment on her patients, studiously parsing their accounts of hallucinations and seizures for clues to the underlying neurological dysfunction.
A book that doesn’t quite engage or inform on the scale that It’s All in Your Head did ... It might be worth asking what kind of storyteller she is. At times a little flat footed ... O’Sullivan’s case studies sometimes feel very similarly structured, and only go so far ... On the other hand...there is clearly a value in directing this established medico-literary genre at an illness like epilepsy ... one of the larger, more humane achievements of her book is to have broadened our sense of what a storm in the brain might look like, or feel like.
The author has written a candid and honest account of epilepsy and its devastating effects. She gives the reader a glimpse of the workings of an epilepsy clinic. Her prose strikes a balance between empathy and science, listening to her patients and explaining the intricacies of the brain ... This highly readable book is a valuable resource for both the layman who is interested in medicine and education and for neurologists who see patients with epilepsy in their clinics.
Informative if less than riveting ... Though the storytelling is disappointingly pedestrian, the author succeeds both in showing the brain as the most sophisticated of all puzzles and in giving a sense of the intricate problem solving that goes into the diagnosis and treatment of brain ailments ... the frequent asides on the history of brain research tend to impede the stories’ flow, and the excitement of “detective stories” promised by the subtitle never arrives. However, the various viewpoints included from patients coping with epilepsy will make this a valuable resource for anyone interested in the topic.