Skip to main content

Book Review: My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor


Jill Bolte Taylor became a brain researcher so she could better understand her own brother, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. But in 1996, Taylor got a unique opportunity to study her own brain when a blood vessel in the left side of her brain exploded. In My Stroke of Insight, Taylor takes the reader through the details of that morning, as she slowly lost different functions of her mind. Then she talks of her long recovery and provides some valuable advice for how to interact with someone who has experienced a stroke.

Taylor's detailed description of her stroke, starting with a pounding headache and progressing to the point of losing her ability to walk, talk, read, write or remember anything about herself, is truly fascinating. It's also very educational in that it should help readers recognize the signs of a stroke more fully.

I'd say My Stroke of Insight is a combination of memoir, biology lesson and advice. As she describes her experiences, Taylor provides details on the way our brain works. She talks about the two sides of our brain, and the different functions of each. During her stroke, Taylor's left brain was affected, so she explains how it felt to be completely controlled by her right brain. She also provides a list of the "Forty Things I Needed the Most," which I expect would be invaluable to anyone whose loved one has experienced a stroke.

Overall, this was an educational book, not merely a memoir. I happen to find the brain very interesting, so I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. But if you're not interested in learning about the way your brain works, I expect you might get bogged down in the details. She has a section at the beginning of the book in which she gives a lesson on the way the brain works before she delves into her experience. She mentions that you're welcome to skip this section, and I think you should if it's not your thing.

My Rating: 4/5

Take a look at this TED talk by the author.There is a lot of repetition between this talk and the book, so you may not want to watch the entire video if you haven't read the book yet. But it will give you a better idea of her thoughts and experiences.


For more information, visit the My Stroke of Insight website.

This review was written based on an ebook copy of My Stroke of Insight that I borrowed from the library.

Comments

  1. I find this incredibly fascinating and remember working at the bookstore when it came out. It affected a lot of readers at that time. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This sounds like an amazing book! I've read The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat by Oliver Sacks, which explores brain disorders and injuries in an anecdotal way, but can sometimes be muddled by medical jargon. I would love to read this! Thanks for the review :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very nice review Julie, I finally finished and reviewed today, I added your review also.

    The part where she remembered the beginning signs of her stroke was truly amazing wasn't it.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

Getting back to blogging

It seems that blogging has dropped to the bottom of my list for the past year, and was pretty low for the year or two prior to that. I love to read, and am continuing to do so, but as my regular readers know I haven't been around much. My last blog post was almost a year ago!!

There are many things that have taken me away from blogging. Work has been much more challenging and interesting these past few years, but that means I really don't want to get back on the computer when I get home at night - or on the weekends.

Family life has been more busy with kids having multiple activities in the evenings, leaving little time to just hang out and write about the books that I read.

I will admit to a bit of a Facebook addiction, which means way too much time spent scrolling through my newsfeed instead of doing something more productive. This is one of the things I'm working on and hoping that this will free up some time for getting back to the blog.

Overall, life is good. Work is …

Book Review: The Bookman's Tale by Charlie Lovett

Peter Byerly is distraught over the loss of his wife nine months ago. He has retreated to their cottage in the English countryside, hoping to return to his love of collecting and restoring rare books. But when he opens a book about Shakespeare forgeries and finds a Victorian watercolor of a woman who looks just like his wife, Peter is soon on a search for the origin of the painting and the truth about Shakespeare's real identity.

The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession by Charlie Lovett is a wonderful journey for anyone who loves books. It follows Peter's search in 1995, which turns into a bit of a thriller at times. But Lovett also takes the reader back in time a bit so we can learn the story of his relationship with his wife and how he came to be a bookseller. He does a beautiful job of expressing Peter's feelings about the rare books he encounters, and his feelings are contagious.

And then he takes us back even further to the history of one particular volume, whos…

Book Review: The Secret Lake by Karen Inglis

When Stella and Tom move to a new home in London, they are sad to have left their friends behind. But soon they have a mystery to solve. Their neighbor's dog, Harry, keeps disappearing. Where is he going and why is he always wet when he comes home? As they investigate the area in the garden where Harry seems to come and go, they discover a hidden tunnel that takes them back to their garden ... almost 100 years ago.

The Secret Lake by Karen Inglis is a wonderful children's book that reminds me of the adventurous stories I read as a child. I saw other reviewers say something similar. I'm not sure what it is about the way the story is told, but it is reminiscent of children's books from many years ago, yet it will definitely appeal to the kids of today.

Stella and Tom have an adventure in the past that leads to new friends and discoveries. While it's a time travel story, it doesn't have a lot of fantasy elements (although there are some moles that act a bit unusua…