Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I Had Brain Surgery, What's Your Excuse? by Suzy Becker


I Had Brain Surgery, What's Your Excuse?- an illustrated memoir by Suzy Becker

Review by Lauren

Source: library, but all opinions are my own

Official Summary: For years Suzy Becker, author of the New York Times bestseller All I Need to Know I Learned from My Cat (1.7 million copies in print), literally lived by her wits. Then brain surgery left her temporarily unable to speak, read, or write. I Had Brain Surgery, What's Your Excuse? is a story that grapples with the question “What makes me me?” By turns philosophical and whimsical, rivetingly dramatic and unexpectedly light, it is illustrated with drawings, charts, pseudoserious graphs, real EEGs. The result is a book filled with insights into creativity, identity, love, relationships, family, and that intangible something that gives each of us our spark.

Review: This book has been sticking out at me for a long time, not only because the author shares my last name (though that was fun!)  I find memoirs of everyday people to be really interesting. I suppose that's why people like reality TV, except reading about someone's life is much more realistic than those shows. For Suzy Becker, she's an artist and a writer and she doesn't really know what to do with herself if those things aren't there. Obviously, having brain surgery changes things and she finds herself unable to express herself as clearly doing the things she loves.

Her memoir details before surgery, during surgery, and the road to recovery afterwards. Her book is testament that she did get better. Part of what makes this type of book easier to read is Suzy's drawings and charts and otherwise "extra bits" added to the story. Her story is inspiring, because it shows that everyone has to learn to rely on others and to not give up on their dreams, in the face of any challenge. Suzy recovers by trying to do the things she used to do like swim, ride bikes, and spend time with friends and family. It isn't easy at first and she feels extremely guilty for people having to help her so much, but it's a progression and she keeps moving ahead.

I wish I had an example to share of Suzy's illustrations throughout the book, but I'm afraid I couldn't find anything online. I will say that they are fun and there is something on almost every page, whether it's small or a bit larger. She includes inner thoughts, comics that draw out conversations, and even a drawing of Augusta (Suzy's imaginary medical super heroine) who shows up throughout the book to "voice" the questions that Suzy should ask while dealing with various doctors. Augusta is the inner voice that many have and wish they could vocalize. It's something I could relate too because I often feel shy or awkward about voicing thoughts and questions to people, especially when at the doctor.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. I checked my copy out from the library but it's something I would really love to own in the future.

14 comments:

Melliane said...

I'm not sure it's for me but it's intriguing and it's the first time I see this one. maybe one day.

Tracy Terry said...

Sounds like a really positive book to read. Thanks for the recommendation, I'll be sure to mention Suzy's book to a friend of ours who is struggling after having a major stroke at 32.

Erika Sorocco said...

Lately I've been getting into memoirs more and more. I'll have to add this one to my list.

xx

Krysten Quiles said...

This sounds really intriguing!

Liviania said...

Interesting, but I'm just not a memoir reader.

Kindlemom said...

I just quickly glanced at the title and had to do a double take LOL! At first I thought you were saying you had had brain surgery. It must still be too early for me today. :P

So glad you enjoyed this one!

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

I bet this was interesting. I would have loved to see the drawings and how they changed as she recovered.

Lauren D. said...

This sounds like a fascinating story, not something I would normally read, but you've definitely got me curious! (And I totally thought the title was you saying you had brain surgery for a split second like Ali! :D)

Alexia561 said...

I don't usually read memoirs, but this one sounds fascinating!

Andrea Thompson said...

Very interesting! I've enjoyed a few memoirs from non-celebrities too.
Thank you for sharing!

Rachel said...

This sounds like a very moving memoir. I happy to hear her health gets better and she's able to resume some of her activities. It's hopeful. I like that the author includes interesting tidbits and illustrations as well. Wonderful review, Lauren! :)

Christy @ Love of Books said...

I use to read a lot of non-fiction, but don't very much anymore. This sounds like a great book. My son's friend had a brain injury not too long ago and is dealing with all of that.

kimbacaffeinate said...

While I rarely dive into non-fiction this does sound interesting and I like that you could connect and relate!

Aylee said...

I remember you recommended this one to me when I posted my non-fiction post on my blog. And yup, I could see myself liking this one and appreciating it! I find I enjoy memoirs by regular people too, maybe because they're more relatable to me.