Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Book Review: Head Case: My Brain and Other Wonders by Cole Cohen
Cole goes back to her old school records and tracks every diagnosis and supposition and treatment plan she's been given over the years. In retrospect, it is obvious that she had something more serious wrong when ADD or a learning disability, but the truth was so odd and so improbable, it makes sense no one ever considered it. Meanwhile, even with the diagnosis, there's no cure. She can't regrow her parietal lobe. All she can do is cope. And she does get a Master's, she has a boyfriend, and eventually she even manages living alone (it's harder than you might think if you can't manage even simple math, to pay your bills.) She does sometimes feel sorry for herself, and she certainly has a lot of anger. She does write smoothly and occasionally even comes out with a perfectly apt and unique description which made me pause and wonder at her language. But overall this book felt a little self-indulgent, which is not a word I use with memoirs lightly (by nature they all must be somewhat self-indulgent, so I give a lot of leeway.) It was a short and fast read (I really read it in about 3 hours) and if you enjoy medical memoirs, it's a good one. But it's not profound. It does give you good insight into what someone with this bizarre medical problem go through, and she does have impressive coping techniques for what must be very frustrating limitations the rest of us never think about. Overall, I enjoyed it, but it could veer towards whiny at times.
A friend gave me this ARC.