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The compelling story of an acclaimed journalist and New York Times bestselling author's ongoing struggle with epilepsy--his torturous decision to keep his condition a secret to avoid discrimination, and his ensuing decades-long battle to not only survive, but to thrive. As a college freshman, Kurt Eichenwald awoke one night on the floor of his dorm room, confused and in pai The compelling story of an acclaimed journalist and New York Times bestselling author's ongoing struggle with epilepsy--his torturous decision to keep his condition a secret to avoid discrimination, and his ensuing decades-long battle to not only survive, but to thrive. As a college freshman, Kurt Eichenwald awoke one night on the floor of his dorm room, confused and in pain. In the aftermath of that critical moment, his once-carefree life would be consumed by confrontations with medical incompetence, discrimination that almost cost him his education and employment, physical abuse, and dark moments when he contemplated suicide. This is the story of one man's battle to pursue his dreams despite an often incapacitating brain disorder. From his early experiences of fear and denial to his exasperating search for treatment, Eichenwald provides a deeply candid account of his years facing this misunderstood and often stigmatized condition. He details his encounters with the doctors whose negligence could have killed him, but for the heroic actions of a brilliant neurologist and the family and friends who fought for him. Many of Eichenwald's recollections are drawn from his diaries, vivid and painstakingly kept records that helped sharpen his skills as a journalist. He raises important questions about the nature of memory, the revelations of brain science, and the profound mysteries of human perception. Ultimately, A Mind Unraveled is an inspirational story, one that chronicles how Eichenwald, faced often with his own mortality, transformed trauma into a guide for reaching the future he desired. Defying relentless threats to his emotional and physical well-being, he affirmed his decision to never give up, and in the process learned how to rise from the depths of despair to the heights of unimagined success. Advance praise for A Mind Unraveled "A Mind Unraveled reads like a medical thriller, at times truly frightening but also deeply inspiring. This book will make me think differently as a doctor. Kurt Eichenwald is a tremendously talented writer. When you travel on his personal journey, it is pure gold."--Sanjay Gupta, M.D., chief medical correspondent, CNN "This book absolutely floored me. It's a medical mystery unlike any I've read before, with a propulsive narrative. Trust me, you won't be able to put it down."--Bryan Burrough, New York Times bestselling author of Barbarians at the Gate "This powerful account provides an important blueprint for anyone struggling to overcome serious challenges."--Katie Couric


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The compelling story of an acclaimed journalist and New York Times bestselling author's ongoing struggle with epilepsy--his torturous decision to keep his condition a secret to avoid discrimination, and his ensuing decades-long battle to not only survive, but to thrive. As a college freshman, Kurt Eichenwald awoke one night on the floor of his dorm room, confused and in pai The compelling story of an acclaimed journalist and New York Times bestselling author's ongoing struggle with epilepsy--his torturous decision to keep his condition a secret to avoid discrimination, and his ensuing decades-long battle to not only survive, but to thrive. As a college freshman, Kurt Eichenwald awoke one night on the floor of his dorm room, confused and in pain. In the aftermath of that critical moment, his once-carefree life would be consumed by confrontations with medical incompetence, discrimination that almost cost him his education and employment, physical abuse, and dark moments when he contemplated suicide. This is the story of one man's battle to pursue his dreams despite an often incapacitating brain disorder. From his early experiences of fear and denial to his exasperating search for treatment, Eichenwald provides a deeply candid account of his years facing this misunderstood and often stigmatized condition. He details his encounters with the doctors whose negligence could have killed him, but for the heroic actions of a brilliant neurologist and the family and friends who fought for him. Many of Eichenwald's recollections are drawn from his diaries, vivid and painstakingly kept records that helped sharpen his skills as a journalist. He raises important questions about the nature of memory, the revelations of brain science, and the profound mysteries of human perception. Ultimately, A Mind Unraveled is an inspirational story, one that chronicles how Eichenwald, faced often with his own mortality, transformed trauma into a guide for reaching the future he desired. Defying relentless threats to his emotional and physical well-being, he affirmed his decision to never give up, and in the process learned how to rise from the depths of despair to the heights of unimagined success. Advance praise for A Mind Unraveled "A Mind Unraveled reads like a medical thriller, at times truly frightening but also deeply inspiring. This book will make me think differently as a doctor. Kurt Eichenwald is a tremendously talented writer. When you travel on his personal journey, it is pure gold."--Sanjay Gupta, M.D., chief medical correspondent, CNN "This book absolutely floored me. It's a medical mystery unlike any I've read before, with a propulsive narrative. Trust me, you won't be able to put it down."--Bryan Burrough, New York Times bestselling author of Barbarians at the Gate "This powerful account provides an important blueprint for anyone struggling to overcome serious challenges."--Katie Couric

30 review for A Mind Unraveled

  1. 4 out of 5

    C

    I couldn’t stop reading. Eichenwald’s memoir is a powerful and riveting story of how he fought for what was right—the right to have good doctors, the right for a job that was inclusive of him and believed in what he could do, and the right to live as normal of a life as possible. The story begins as Eichenwald is diagnosed with epilepsy during his freshman year of college. After being told by an awful doctor that he should restrict his goals, he is continually misdiagnosed other doctors and almo I couldn’t stop reading. Eichenwald’s memoir is a powerful and riveting story of how he fought for what was right—the right to have good doctors, the right for a job that was inclusive of him and believed in what he could do, and the right to live as normal of a life as possible. The story begins as Eichenwald is diagnosed with epilepsy during his freshman year of college. After being told by an awful doctor that he should restrict his goals, he is continually misdiagnosed other doctors and almost dies due to the drug toxicity. After this moment, he finds Dr. Naarden, a wonderful neurologist who tells him that he can do whatever he wants and that epilepsy does not have to control his life. In the midst of dealing with incompetent doctors, Eichenwald is thrown out of Swarthmore and upon graduation is discriminated against at his job. Additionally, Eichenwald struggles to obtain health insurance due to his condition and is unable to maintain the job he truly loves due to needing insurance to cover his medical expenses. In the midst of all of this, he does not let anything stop him. He does all of the things that the first neurologist told him he couldn’t do. Eventually while working as a copy boy for The New York Times, he begins his career in reporting and after some time becomes successful as an investigative reporter and has a family of his own. As a premed student, I was shocked and embarrassed by the lack of bedside manner and treatment given to Eichenwald. It’s so easy to think that being told to be empathetic is something we know and are supposed to do in healthcare, but over and over again, as in Eichenwald’s case, we see medical professionals not seeing the person, but seeing the condition instead. And we can’t pretend that this happened 30 years ago and cannot happen again. I remember reading an article recently about some schools that are alleged to have convinced students with mental illness to take a semester off and are given more hassles when they attempt to return. And even though I don’t have a chronic condition, I can name times I went into the doctor’s office and was not listened to, or was told terms I did not understand, or was looked at like a spectacle and not a human being. As I said, as soon as I began, I could not stop reading this book. I’m not sure if it was because I love reading stories of how people succeed against adversity, or that as a medically-minded person I was interested in learning about someone’s life with epilepsy. However, I must say that this memoir is a fantastic look at a successful reporter's life who let nothing get in the way of what he desired. Because of this memoir, I desire to be a better doctor and I hope that other healthcare providers who read this become better clinicians who treat people well. Moreover, I hope that everyone who reads this book is kinder to people who have challenges in life. I am also more informed about epilepsy and will make it a point to shut down ignorance. And above all else, I’ve learned about the resilience of the human spirit. As Eichenwald states at the beginning, he was given a set of cards in his life, and he played them well. Very well. Thank you Ballantine Books and Kurt Eichenwald for offering this book giveaway!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Arredondo

    With a little over 41o pages it's safe to say that this book is a lot. Alot of information, a lot of content, a lot to think about and ponder issues within our own lives. A Mind Unraveled: A Memoir by Kurt Eichenwald is the true story of Kurt Eichenwald an acclaimed journalist and best selling author and his tormenting struggle with epilepsy. Easily among the list of top 10 non-fiction books that I have read this year so far. Eichenwald first began experiencing symptoms when he was in high schoo With a little over 41o pages it's safe to say that this book is a lot. Alot of information, a lot of content, a lot to think about and ponder issues within our own lives. A Mind Unraveled: A Memoir by Kurt Eichenwald is the true story of Kurt Eichenwald an acclaimed journalist and best selling author and his tormenting struggle with epilepsy. Easily among the list of top 10 non-fiction books that I have read this year so far. Eichenwald first began experiencing symptoms when he was in high school. I could not imagine...remembering my high school years...how difficult they were already...discovering yourself....still feeling all the insecurities one feels among their peers....and then symptoms occur. The fear..the stress....the embarrassment...is mind blowing and gut wrenching. To go from slight symptoms...to eventually full on grand mal seizures. That wasn't even the worst of his struggles. The discrimination he endured both in school and in the workplace, the misdiagnoses, the mismanagement of his condition by physicians. Truly an unraveling of such a difficult life journey. It's inspirational...absolutely but it pulls at your heart strings through out. Gut wrenching...a powerful message. Like the saying goes.....you don't know unless you step a mile in someones shoes. Grab the tissues and don't expect for this story to leave you any time soon. Thanks to the peeps at goodreads, Kurt Eichenwald, and to Ballentine Books for my free copy of this book via giveaway. I received. I read. I reviewed this book honestly and voluntarily.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    I would have read this book at one clip had my Nook not required a charge toward the end. Riveting, infuriating, informative, human, loving, and reflective -- this memoir tells the story of a man who refused to give into institutional stupidity, professional insufficiency, and personal trauma. He decided, twice in his life, to proceed to a specific goal, one academic, one personal. He achieved his goals because of his own strength while undergoing traumas beyond what most of his readers can even I would have read this book at one clip had my Nook not required a charge toward the end. Riveting, infuriating, informative, human, loving, and reflective -- this memoir tells the story of a man who refused to give into institutional stupidity, professional insufficiency, and personal trauma. He decided, twice in his life, to proceed to a specific goal, one academic, one personal. He achieved his goals because of his own strength while undergoing traumas beyond what most of his readers can even imagine, and because others in his life were loving. It's not "just" the story of overcoming obstacles - it's the story of holding one's own despite the overwhelming weight of the world.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This is my number one read of 2018. This book will rip you apart. It is agonizing to go on this journey of epilepsy with Kurt Eichenwald. It is infuriating to meet a bevy of incompetent doctors. There are so many people in this book that I absolutely hated. Yet through it all Kurt never gave up. He kept pushing on demanding answers and never letting epilepsy keep him from accomplishing his goals even when it was really difficult. This book tackles very difficult subjects but is written beautiful This is my number one read of 2018. This book will rip you apart. It is agonizing to go on this journey of epilepsy with Kurt Eichenwald. It is infuriating to meet a bevy of incompetent doctors. There are so many people in this book that I absolutely hated. Yet through it all Kurt never gave up. He kept pushing on demanding answers and never letting epilepsy keep him from accomplishing his goals even when it was really difficult. This book tackles very difficult subjects but is written beautifully. I had a hard time putting this one down. I was provided a copy of this book by the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    This is a well-written, informative, and enlightening book. A long read, but it went by fast because I could not put it down. Hard to believe the way doctors and Swarthmore failed him at many turns, but they did. Disgusting, actually. We should be able to trust those in the medical profession, but here is proof of a frightening opposite scenario. I felt and empathized with the author's anger and frustration, but cheered on his mother when she took control. That Eichenwald came through all of it This is a well-written, informative, and enlightening book. A long read, but it went by fast because I could not put it down. Hard to believe the way doctors and Swarthmore failed him at many turns, but they did. Disgusting, actually. We should be able to trust those in the medical profession, but here is proof of a frightening opposite scenario. I felt and empathized with the author's anger and frustration, but cheered on his mother when she took control. That Eichenwald came through all of it with his health mostly intact is a testament to his fortitude. He also showed amazing brilliance in his investigative work. I am impressed. His visit to Washington with his sons was especially heartwarming. I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, and it is an uncorrected proof. There are very few errors, but my hope is that a good proofreader finds them and makes the necessary corrections. The chronological order of the book is perfect. An excellent memoir. My only regret is googling the author (as I do with every new author I read) and finding out the controversy surrounding him. I wish I hadn't done that.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lilisa

    An in-depth personal account of living with epilepsy, the unvarnished reality of misdiagnosis and the struggles that people with medical challenges face every day. It is quite amazing how Kurt Eichenwald’s determination, motivation, and belief in himself helped power him through the many dark periods in his life as he struggled to get accurate diagnosis despite numerous obstacles. Much has to do with his personality and his persistent nature - at times confrontational, at others slipping into th An in-depth personal account of living with epilepsy, the unvarnished reality of misdiagnosis and the struggles that people with medical challenges face every day. It is quite amazing how Kurt Eichenwald’s determination, motivation, and belief in himself helped power him through the many dark periods in his life as he struggled to get accurate diagnosis despite numerous obstacles. Much has to do with his personality and his persistent nature - at times confrontational, at others slipping into the depths of despair, but generally not for long. The book is a detailed - sometimes excruciatingly so - journey living with epilepsy, from its early onset to his success in managing his life despite his health challenges. His cadre of supportive friends was admirable - much rested on their young shoulders - particularly his room mates. They are to be commended for sure. Keeping epilepsy a secret is probably one of the hardest medical conditions to hide. Deeply personal, the book is an unabashed exposure of the author’s life experience living with epilepsy - personally and professionally. A book worth reading but be prepared for a bit of length and a dose of reality. Thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for the ARC.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Exceptionally well written memoir that completely held my interest. It’s the story of one young man’s diagnosis of epilepsy in the late 70s. I often find the details in a memoir tedious but this author found the exact right balance. An epilepsy diagnosis is horrible but I had forgotten what a terrible stigma was associated with it in the past and I hadn’t known how hard it often was to get the right diagnosis. This author’s trials and tribulations were way beyond horrible and at times it is hard Exceptionally well written memoir that completely held my interest. It’s the story of one young man’s diagnosis of epilepsy in the late 70s. I often find the details in a memoir tedious but this author found the exact right balance. An epilepsy diagnosis is horrible but I had forgotten what a terrible stigma was associated with it in the past and I hadn’t known how hard it often was to get the right diagnosis. This author’s trials and tribulations were way beyond horrible and at times it is hard to read but the lessons in persistence and resilience are well worth it. I look forward to going back and reading this author’s prior books and highly recommend this compelling read. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an early release for an honest review. I am delighted I got to read this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I received an advanced copy of A Mind Unraveled as part of the giveaway program. Reading Eichenwald's story is like reading my own autobiography. It's amazing how much the public still does not understand epilepsy. Only those who are the closest to the individual really know what the person experience. Kurt was fortunate to have roommates and family who stood by him throughout his life. I thought the idea of making recordings was such a great idea. I wish someone had made that suggestion to me o I received an advanced copy of A Mind Unraveled as part of the giveaway program. Reading Eichenwald's story is like reading my own autobiography. It's amazing how much the public still does not understand epilepsy. Only those who are the closest to the individual really know what the person experience. Kurt was fortunate to have roommates and family who stood by him throughout his life. I thought the idea of making recordings was such a great idea. I wish someone had made that suggestion to me over 20 years ago. The hardest part about epilepsy is what you don't remember. Having friends and family (or audio tapes) are a great help to serve as a memory. This book should be a must read for anyone who who has ever met anyone with epilepsy be it a friend, family member, coworker, or whatever. Epilepsy is so much more than seizures.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Donahue

    This was a fascinating look at the life of an epileptic man who just wanted a life like everyone else had. There is so much stigma attached to the condition that he was often forced to fight for the right to do normal things like attend college and get a job. His rise above all the odds was inspiring and you find yourself rooting for him as he forces open closed doors. A true tribute to the human spirit and what can be accomplished through hard work, a supportive family and an unfailing belief i This was a fascinating look at the life of an epileptic man who just wanted a life like everyone else had. There is so much stigma attached to the condition that he was often forced to fight for the right to do normal things like attend college and get a job. His rise above all the odds was inspiring and you find yourself rooting for him as he forces open closed doors. A true tribute to the human spirit and what can be accomplished through hard work, a supportive family and an unfailing belief in yourself. #netgalley #AMindUnraveled #KurtEichenwald

  10. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    A masterfully written text by a young man--now a middle-aged man, husband, and father--who happened to have epilepsy and was kicked out of Swarthmore College his freshman year by a bunch of lying psychologists, neurologists, the dean, and the security department. All of them had progressed past the idea that epilepsy was caused by demon possession, but that it was still pretty weird and dangerous to be falling down and convulsing. They wouldn't admit that his epilepsy was the reason they were ki A masterfully written text by a young man--now a middle-aged man, husband, and father--who happened to have epilepsy and was kicked out of Swarthmore College his freshman year by a bunch of lying psychologists, neurologists, the dean, and the security department. All of them had progressed past the idea that epilepsy was caused by demon possession, but that it was still pretty weird and dangerous to be falling down and convulsing. They wouldn't admit that his epilepsy was the reason they were kicking him out and they were afraid of liability, until he started tape recording their phone calls, and the dean said that was absolutely the reason she was kicking him out. They lied to his parents, his friends, and anyone who disagreed with them. They had a staff psychologist who diagnosed him as having a brain tumor without ever seeing any EEGs, and then kept insisting that he be kicked out. He went through a few neurologists who told him different things, many of them wrong, and were so arrogant that they refused ever to admit they had said it or if they had, they were right. Another Swarthmore psychologist or neurologist diagnosed him as not having real epilepsy and said he had conversion hysteria--an entirely psychological phenomenon. He had to have the neurologist that he trusted call or write the others and tell them that they were dead wrong about their hunches, and the author was a classic epileptic. There was a lot of medical and administrative hubris, and they were nasty as hell to him. His valiant roommates tried to defend him, but the administrators made up lies that he had no friends, no social life, poor grades and whatever musical productions he was in were all in his mind and had no basis in reality. When he produced a tape of the a capella group he was leader of, they wouldn't listen because they said there was no such group, and he had made it up. It was pure gaslighting. Everybody thought they knew what to do best--keep him from swallowing his tongue (never happens), hold him down until he stops shaking (might cause him to break bones; worst thing you could do). All he needed was to be told where he was when he woke up and where he had been when it happened. Telling him a joke would also reorient him. Then letting him sleep. To me, the arrogance of those in power and the vicious lies they told to cover their asses and the school's collective ass, is unconscionable. The lack of empathy and the arrogated authority of the liars defies anything that a liberal arts tradition stands for. He was even raped anally when he was unconscious once. The book retails the long struggle for him to get a bachelor's degree and get into a news-writing job. The dedication he exemplifies--sort of on the level of Booker T. Washingt0n, doing everything perfectly and faster than anyone else--is just admirable. His perseverance is remarkable. And ultimately, Swarthmore--those still alive at least--issues an apology and offers to have him come back and lecture for the same fee as one semester of college, which he claimed they stole from him. So the ending is happy, too. It hit especially close to home for me because for decades I have taken Tegretol and Lamictal, as he did, even though I've never had a seizure. I have a slight case of Tourette's, a movement disorder that causes my fingers to fly off the keyboard and pull up an entirely different screen, and occasionally say words that conventional people think are wicked and obscene, neither of which I can help. But it's lost me jobs and gotten me kicked out of common areas of businesses where I've worked. I've also gotten lectures from small-minded people who think this is all a moral issue, not a biological one. I couldn't change it if I wanted to. The medications keep me level-headed, keep my hands from flying out more than minimally and give me an extra second to stop myself from saying the evil F word. But it still happens. And lots of people think it's a moral issue. Why isn't it a moral issue for people to decide why they have the right to judge something that they know nothing about? It's not fun having OCD, which is on the same gene as Tourette's, but if you can't stop counting everything, you just can't. Instead of counting steps, I could go A, B, C--but it's never going to stop. It just happens biologically. I'm a very kind and moral person, but I can't abide shallow thinkers who think they can judge my behavior better than I can, or who think my shortcomings are entirely my fault, or who think they're morally superior to me.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michaela

    ---Full disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. --- So, this guy is impressive. Firstly, he deserves kudos for surviving his teens & twenties with such crappy excuses for medical care. Secondly, he deserves recognition for being so honest about his experiences & sharing them with the world, considering what a terribly difficult thing that is to do. Since the time periods described, I know medical care & standards have improved dramatically, & that’s a great thi ---Full disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. --- So, this guy is impressive. Firstly, he deserves kudos for surviving his teens & twenties with such crappy excuses for medical care. Secondly, he deserves recognition for being so honest about his experiences & sharing them with the world, considering what a terribly difficult thing that is to do. Since the time periods described, I know medical care & standards have improved dramatically, & that’s a great thing. However, the lessons provided in this book still hold true. Medical knowledge is limited, & medical practitioners are still no more than human. The academic research & study of medicine is by no means the same as the actual daily practice of applied medicine & patient treatment. Good medical care often corners on a patient being an advocate for themselves, in as much as possible. Patient care involves the patient as the center of focus (as opposed to, say, the doctor), & is certainly the opposite of what Mr. Eichenwald unfortunately experienced throughout the time period most of this book covers. My only complaint is that the providers of most of this bad care are intentionally not referenced via their real names. If this was done to avoid lawsuits, with all this guy has already been through I can understand the decision. However, it is my opinion that public safety would be better served w/ full disclosure of all parties, even if they are no longer practicing. I will pass this book on to my friend who, like myself, works in health care, & will be sure to see that it moves on to another once she has read it. I’m happy to say that through friends of mine, I know that epilepsy is now much better understood than it was even a couple decades ago. There is always room to grow in our knowledge, however. That’s how (good) science & medicine works, after all. Unfortunately, while there has been progress, discrimination (of all kinds) & lack of knowledge re: epilepsy & so many other medical conditions still abounds, making life even tougher for people who already have to work harder just to live. Part of that was well-demonstrated by this telling, in the way a seemingly simple thing like affordable medical care can hamper one’s ability to live a productive life, or even a life that’s worth living at all. Too often this access to care, the lack thereof, or the fear of losing access, traps patients into overly tenuous & unsustainable situations, w/ no way to pad against the sudden blows that can veer lives permanently off any kind of acceptable path at all. Through no fault of their own, this happens to many, many people all the damn time. The immeasurable costs of this, of course, are much larger than those of a personal financial nature. They extend outward to the entire social & psychological realm of a patient's loved ones, as well as to the larger society as a whole. In other words, the fallout of the current social situation means we all end up losing out in ways we don't even recognize. Mr. Eichenwald, thankfully, seems to now have reached a point in life with enough support & stability to have been able to share his story with the world, & his doing so is no small feat. This is a great book, extremely well-written, & I recommend it to everyone. Thank you Mr. Eichenwald.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    5 stars “The compelling story of an acclaimed journalist and New York Times bestselling author’s ongoing struggle with epilepsy—his torturous decision to keep his condition a secret to avoid discrimination, and his ensuing decades-long battle to not only survive, but to thrive.” Oh, holy buckets! This book is simply amazing, awe-inspiring, utterly maddening and truly heart warming. I am shocked at how deeply this book touched me. However, as a woman with uncontrolled epilepsy, this book really hit 5 stars “The compelling story of an acclaimed journalist and New York Times bestselling author’s ongoing struggle with epilepsy—his torturous decision to keep his condition a secret to avoid discrimination, and his ensuing decades-long battle to not only survive, but to thrive.” Oh, holy buckets! This book is simply amazing, awe-inspiring, utterly maddening and truly heart warming. I am shocked at how deeply this book touched me. However, as a woman with uncontrolled epilepsy, this book really hit home for me. I am astonished and sickened by what Kurt Eichenwald went through just trying to get proper medical care, to get an education and obtain a job. The extreme difficulties he faced to just have a normal life is disgusting. Eichenwald is a true testament to the axiom of never give up. I really liked and appreciated the sections of the book which included statements from roommates, parents, wife and kids. It added so much to the book and show how his uncontrolled epilepsy impacted so many lives. I am appalled at the way Eichenwald was treated throughout most of his life. His positive attitude and push for normalcy have certainly changed how many people with epilepsy are treated now. This is a book everyone touched in any way by epilepsy needs to read or for that matter, anyone touched by a chronic illness should read. This is an important book. I am so thankful Eichenwald wrote it. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. The views given are my own. #Netgalley #AmindUnraveled #BallantineBooks

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Stone

    I won this book from Goodreads. I enjoyed this memoir. This is not easy stuff to read. Epileptics are greatly misunderstood and the drugs to control the condition are very toxic. When the author is first diagnosed his father sends him to a research, academic doctor. This is not a good fit as his blood levels are never checked and monitored. It is as if the doctor is using the eighteen year old as an experiment, but that is not quite true as the doctor conducting research will come later. After a I won this book from Goodreads. I enjoyed this memoir. This is not easy stuff to read. Epileptics are greatly misunderstood and the drugs to control the condition are very toxic. When the author is first diagnosed his father sends him to a research, academic doctor. This is not a good fit as his blood levels are never checked and monitored. It is as if the doctor is using the eighteen year old as an experiment, but that is not quite true as the doctor conducting research will come later. After a disastrous summer break in Chicago, Kurt's mother takes over the healthcare and finds a neurologist at a hospital in Dallas, Texas. This doctor helps Kurt in many ways and is patient with him as he had many traumatic experiences in the healthcare industry. Eichenwald finds himself thrown out of Swathmore because of his seizures. This is in direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It turns out that the School Psychologist can not handle students with disabilities or mental health issues. Though he has written many books on the subject. I do not think this memoir was written to disparage higher education, but there are many anecdotal stories from his college years in this book. He is diagnosed as an epileptic at the age of eighteen when he has grand mal seizures for the first time. There were many staring type seizures prior, but no one thought much of them. Health Insurance plays a big part of his post graduate life and he does not offer solutions which is refreshing, though it does seem that the liberal organizations he was working for were the most afraid to cover him.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Diane Payne

    This memoir will prove to be useful to other people, especially those suffering with epilepsy. Eichenwald does a thorough (perhaps too much at times) job detailing his experiences of first being diagnosed, getting kicked out of college, and eventually landing a successful career. As a memoir, I wish the focus wasn't just on his epilepsy, even though the illness consumes his life, but more about other factors in his life. it's well written, honest, and revealing, but I found the excerpts from oth This memoir will prove to be useful to other people, especially those suffering with epilepsy. Eichenwald does a thorough (perhaps too much at times) job detailing his experiences of first being diagnosed, getting kicked out of college, and eventually landing a successful career. As a memoir, I wish the focus wasn't just on his epilepsy, even though the illness consumes his life, but more about other factors in his life. it's well written, honest, and revealing, but I found the excerpts from other people in his life at the beginning of the chapters to be distracting, and wished, as a writer, he found a better way to tie that info into his narrative.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Clark

    I won this book in a giveaway, and i literally could not put it down. It was a ver fascinating outlook about a man living with epilepsy, and everything he went through.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    * Completely compelling and impossible to put down. Personal account of a medical mystery and all the ensuing difficulties. * I received a free copy of the book in a Goodreads giveaway.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    A Mind Unraveled: A Memoir by Kurt Eichenwald is a beautiful, tragic, and strong memoir. I found I had tears in my eyes at many of the things Kurt experienced, both sad at times, and joyful when we was triumphant. This is the memoir of Kurt Eichenwald who was diagnosed with Epilepsy as a young adult nust entering college in the 1980’s. This book details the author’s struggles with incompetent doctors and college staff who are also incompetent and afraid of what they don’t know. Eichenwald’s docto A Mind Unraveled: A Memoir by Kurt Eichenwald is a beautiful, tragic, and strong memoir. I found I had tears in my eyes at many of the things Kurt experienced, both sad at times, and joyful when we was triumphant. This is the memoir of Kurt Eichenwald who was diagnosed with Epilepsy as a young adult nust entering college in the 1980’s. This book details the author’s struggles with incompetent doctors and college staff who are also incompetent and afraid of what they don’t know. Eichenwald’s doctors prescribe him medication without knowing the side effects and keep prescribing it until he lands in the hospital due to toxic levels of tbe medication. Meanwhile, his college, Swathmore, decides to try to force him out because of his disability. This is his story of how he overcomes his circumstances, and ultimately is grateful for his experiances as they’ve made him into the man he is today. This is a wonderfully inspiring memoir and I would recommend it to everyone. It is also practical as you learn what to do and not to do if you ever encounter someone having a seizure. I highly recommend this book. I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a review copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Melinda

    I couldn't hardly put this book down. Very interesting, I won this book and I loved it. Thank you!!!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    A Mind Unraveled by Kurt Eichenwald This is a remarkably courageous biography of Kurt Eichenwald and his life long journey with debilitating epilepsy at his heels. There are so many adjectives to describe Kurt's story; courageous, resilient, sad, frustrating, infuriating, scary, strong, remarkable, humiliating, debilitating, but most of all, he has shared with his readers an incredibly humbling educational experience. I found this story shocking on so many levels. Most shocking of all was that a r A Mind Unraveled by Kurt Eichenwald This is a remarkably courageous biography of Kurt Eichenwald and his life long journey with debilitating epilepsy at his heels. There are so many adjectives to describe Kurt's story; courageous, resilient, sad, frustrating, infuriating, scary, strong, remarkable, humiliating, debilitating, but most of all, he has shared with his readers an incredibly humbling educational experience. I found this story shocking on so many levels. Most shocking of all was that a renowned physician, an extremely well educated man (his father) would be so blind to the horrors endured by his son by a quack neurologist he insisted Kurt see and stood behind at all costs. Thankfully his mother had enough sense, love and compassion to step in, take control and over ride this decision. Then to have two additional neurologist that were responsible for so much more harm than good. I would have liked to discover that these entrusted doctors had the pants sued off them or at least had some repercussions as a result of their heinous malpractices. Secondly the discrimination he suffered from Swarthmore College (and from others) is beyond comprehension. What was the point of them being so hell bent on denying him his education and causing so much pain in his life? I was glad to see some closure on this tragedy. Kurt is an amazingly strong, resilient person who has over come the odds. I have personally never known anyone with epilepsy so have no first hand experience with seizures. I found Kurt's story remarkable. I never realized how debilitating seizures are, that the person may not be coherent for a prolonged time post episode, making them very vulnerable to their surroundings, nor have I ever stopped to reflect on how injured a person could get during a seizure. Truly an eye opener. While reading this book I couldn't help reflect on our country's current drug addiction problem and the common question, "is drug addiction a disease or a habit"? So many agree it's disease, an illness that needs to be battled. Well after reading this book, I beg to differ. These people clearly have a choice, to either be healthy or to take drugs and not be healthy. Kurt had absolutely no control of his illness, he is forced to endure horrible side effects from drugs he doesn't want to take just to experience some semblance of a normal life and to mitigate injury. Note to the author: Mr. Eichenwald, the world is a much better because of you. Thank you for sharing your raw, life experiences with the rest of us who live a blissful epilepsy free/ignorant life. You have opened my eyes and I am grateful. .

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kari

    Truly excellent read This should be “required” reading for anyone who knows anyone with epilepsy, or who struggles with it themselves. As a parent of a young child with epilepsy, this will help me to be a better advocate, it also gives me confidence and hope for my child’s future. I will continue to be transparent about her condition, and continue to use humor as a coping mechanism, and continue to teach her that she can accomplish anything as long as she doesn’t give up. I will also keep that st Truly excellent read This should be “required” reading for anyone who knows anyone with epilepsy, or who struggles with it themselves. As a parent of a young child with epilepsy, this will help me to be a better advocate, it also gives me confidence and hope for my child’s future. I will continue to be transparent about her condition, and continue to use humor as a coping mechanism, and continue to teach her that she can accomplish anything as long as she doesn’t give up. I will also keep that strength and never give up. We are not alone. Thank you, Mr. Eichenwald, for sharing this and for not giving up, and for your transparency. Thank you for giving me more tools to fight for my daughter.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    "I suffer from the scourge of Christ for my sins. I practice witchcraft, and thousands of my kind have been burned to death. I have been attacked by demons. I am sacred, capable of miracles. I am a seer, blessed by God and infused with the Holy Spirit. I am forbidden from becoming a Catholic priest. I should be institutionalized, chained to walls, as I prepare for my death … I have epilepsy, a condition recorded in every known civilization" (p. 5). Wow! 'A Mind Unraveled' is unbelievable - from "I suffer from the scourge of Christ for my sins. I practice witchcraft, and thousands of my kind have been burned to death. I have been attacked by demons. I am sacred, capable of miracles. I am a seer, blessed by God and infused with the Holy Spirit. I am forbidden from becoming a Catholic priest. I should be institutionalized, chained to walls, as I prepare for my death … I have epilepsy, a condition recorded in every known civilization" (p. 5). Wow! 'A Mind Unraveled' is unbelievable - from the perspectives of "how could these events have occurred!" and respect, respect, respect! Read this one - it will, truly, leave you in awe.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    This morning I finished A Mind Unraveled by Kurt Eichenwald and I give it 5 stars. I won this memoir from a Goodreads giveaway following his journey through epilepsy, facing discrimination, fear, pain, incompetent doctors and general ignorance regarding epilepsy. I lost sleep over this book, I was so appalled at how poorly he was treated, the things he went through, but along the way, I was educated more about epilepsy and seizures, and inspired by the way he dealt with everything. I truly strug This morning I finished A Mind Unraveled by Kurt Eichenwald and I give it 5 stars. I won this memoir from a Goodreads giveaway following his journey through epilepsy, facing discrimination, fear, pain, incompetent doctors and general ignorance regarding epilepsy. I lost sleep over this book, I was so appalled at how poorly he was treated, the things he went through, but along the way, I was educated more about epilepsy and seizures, and inspired by the way he dealt with everything. I truly struggled to put this book down. I will warn you that there is some cussing, and talk of injuries related to falls, but nothing super graphic.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Val Bodurtha

    Fair warning: Do not read Kurt Eichenwald's new book, "A Mind Unraveled," if you've got anything else you need to do for next 24 hours because you won't be able to put it down. It's a heart-stopping tale, as brilliantly told as it's brutal. A modern-day epic by a real flesh-and-blood hero. Audio book is narrated by the author himself, who brings you into the story and speaks with you as if he were telling all this to an old friend. Deserves every prize on the planet.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karen.s

    A life changing, life affirming book. One the best written memoirs I have read, it chronicles the strength of human will to survive when life throws more than your share of obstacles at you. that it is about epilepsy makes it hit even closer to home for me. It is compellingly readable and as the mother of a son who developed epilepsy at the same age as Kurt, it gives me hope, coping strategies and some threads to go on in getting proper treatment for my son.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ramzi W Banda

    Outstanding! As a neurologist, I am embarrassed to know that members of my profession did so much damage to a patient let alone a fellow human being. I think this book should be required reading in medical schools so that we develop physicians for whom the well being of their patients exceeds the boundaries of their egos. The author, in a most personal manner, elicits in the readers all sorts of conflicting emotions and touches the very core of our humanity. Kudos!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brooke Salaz

    Harrowing tale of Eichenwald's diagnosis (after many battles) of epilepsy as a college student. Truly incredible how resilient and tough he had to be to survive doctors, injuries, callousness and abuse to become a successful reporter. I will never view Ralph Nader as a noble fighter for the underdog again. Horrific but uplifting.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Thank you, Mr. Eichenwald!! I am still in the tangle but your book and your story are sources of hope that I will one day find the balance that Dr. Naarden advised you to strive for. Know that you and your voice are helping many others who share your struggles. Unfortunately, too many people experience similar situations. Thank you for helping me feel less alone.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Amazing story of medical barbarism that unbelievably still occurred in the 1980s. A frightening reminder that we all need to be our own advocates listening to our own body, instead of slavishly following the advice of just anyone in a white coat. Keep clear of a hospital if at all possible and take another pair of ears to every appointment sounds like good advice to me.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Deb

    i won this book on a goodreads giveaway. This was not thestory I was expecting, but it was incredible, gut-wretching, and I could not put it down. It was a statement of friendship, courage, determination, discrimination, and fight. I highly recommend the book for everyone!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tamra

    his writing is a bit frenetic but his story is compelling. He has an untreatable epilepsy which can be modified but not controlled. He has to fight for fairness in his college, the job field, and in relationships. All this while he becomes a New York Times bestselling author.

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