What’s funny about having a hole in your brain the size of a lemon? Not much, one supposes.
Why I love it
Patrik Henry Bass
What's funny about having a hole in your brain the size of a lemon? Not much, one supposes. That is, not until you read Cole Cohen's brave, brilliant, and bitingly funny memoir Head Case: My Brain and Other Wonders.
At age 26, Cohen cannot judge distance, time or space; is undone by the simplest math equation; and cannot shop in a grocery store without getting lost. Although she has seen dozens of psychologists, speech pathologists, and therapists since childhood, no one has figured out why everyday tasks elude Cohen and why leaving the front door of her house terrifies her. That is, until an intrepid neurologist finally locates a hole in the writer's parietal lobe that she describes as "about the size of a lemon." Suddenly, her whole existence begins to make sense.
As she retraces her life from birth to the present, about five years after her diagnosis, we are treated to a vivid voice that is defiantly unsentimental and daringly original. Words, which failed her for much of her life, empower Cohen as an author. Whether describing the angst of her first relationship, attending college and graduate school, or trying valiantly to hold down a job, Cohen conveys her experiences with the acerbic timing of Gore Vidal. About her endlessly patient parents, she writes: "My mother is a librarian and my dad is a philosophy professor; I am their longest-running joint research project."
I'll admit I approached this debut work with a tinge of caution. First, I'm a tad squeamish about gray matter. (The 1983 Steve Martin comedy, "The Man With Two Brains," haunted me for years). And after over-indulging on 90s memoirs about every dysfunction from alcoholism and gambling to food addiction and pyromania, I’ve become a skeptic when a book touts "a never-before-heard story." However, I’m glad I took this thoughtful, fearless, inspiring, and, yes, never-before-heard journey with Cohen, a journey I hope you will take as well.
Scottsdale , AZ
Long Beach, CA
At first a fascinating case of a rare neurological disorder, this memoir offered little closer and became redundant as Cole focused more on her relationship issues than the disorder.
Cole Cohen is a witty writer which aids the subject matter in feeling less uncomfortable for the reader while also forcing the reader into empathy. Laughed a lot. Would recommend.
South Elgin , IL
Cohen is a brilliant woman. That said, this book was only OK. It feels like a prequel; hopefully she writes about the next decade or more after it happens.
Georgetown , KY
This book took you on a journey, not only of Cole's life but a spiritual one that dealt with identity!
I really liked this, read a bit like fiction, author doesn't take herself too seriously.
Homer Glen, IL
I really felt for the author. It was an interesting and quick read.
Lucas , TX
I found this story really interesting.
Really interesting and well written
San Francisco, CA
Yorktown Heights, NY