Friday, September 4, 2015

Book Review: "Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home" by Jessica Fechtor (and a guest post)

(Before we get started, fast shout out to Book Bloggers International who had me guest post today about libraries! Check it out and then come on back!)

The whole time I was reading this I was thinking of other people who would love this book, I feel like that's a good sign! Also, the cover is gorgeous but I'm worried about the waste of chocolate. :) I was not familiar with Jessica's blog before picking up this book, I'm not much of a cook so I'm not a food blog reader but I thought her story sounded interesting. And now that I work with people who study brains I feel like maybe reading thiswill give me fodder for cocktail party conversations.

Jessica is living a pretty normal life; she's 28, freshly married, trying to wrap up grad school. She's at a conference in Vermont when she falls off a treadmill and bonks her head. She's embarassed at the fact someone called an ambulance. She assumes she's just dehydrated or stressed. But when they get to the hospital and do some testing they realize it's something much worse; bleeding on her brain.

(We take a break in this review of this kind of serious book to discuss a cartoon. Does anyone watch Archer, specifically the oil pipeline in Louisiana episode? About how his big fears are crocodiles, alligators and brain aneurysms? These are not unrealistic fears. Okay, back to it.)

Her family, including her husband, her in-laws, her divorced parents, and her step mom all find their way to Vermont immediately. (Because nothing is worse then being away from home when an emergency happens to you. They lived in Cambridge at the time. I think. They moved around A LOT.)

Her recovery is mind numbing slow. Her therapist warns her she might only be able to do "one thing a day". Therapist was right. Sometimes a shower, walking up a few stairs, or having a prolonged phone conversation was exhausting. But the thing she misses the most is cooking. Food and cooking plays a large part in her recovery, even though it takes her a long time to do more than wash and cut 3 mushrooms.

What I thought was interesting about was that she never seemed to realize that this was incredibly life threatening. Several times the doctors told her she was out of the woods and then she'd be in the hospital again a week later. I don't know if it's because she wrote the book in hindsight ("well I obviously didn't die, I'm writing this book!"), she was naive, or if it was just a coping mechanism. She never seemed worried "enough". But maybe she's just a calm person! I liked this book, it was interesting, though I don't know if I would ever read it again. So I will give it a high 3 out of 5 stars.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley


  1. Small miracles :) I will have to pick this one up, because it combines my two loves: brains and cooking!

    1. Small miracles! hahaha. It's such a Jen book, it's ridiculous.


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