The Night the Lights Went Out: A Memoir of Life After Brain Damage

Harmony. Oct. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9780593232712. $27. MEMOIR
Acclaimed columnist Magary (formerly at the blog Deadspin, now at the blog Defector) chronicles his mysterious collapse and resulting brain injury—through his own eyes and through the perspectives of witnesses to the incident that fractured his skull in three places. It caused a brain bleed that put Magary in a coma for two weeks and left him with a permanent disability. He recounts the events leading up to his collapse in 2018 and describes what it was like to wake up from a coma, feeling lucky to be alive but forever changed. Magary puts it all on the table with his offbeat, dark humor: his spirals of rage about his losses, which included impulse control and his senses of taste, smell, and hearing; his recovery and rehabilitation; and his ultimate acceptance that he could never again be who he was before.
VERDICT Fascinating, with wonderful digressions on human anatomy, medical science, and technological advancements in assistive devices. A must-read memoir for anyone seeking answers to their own medical mysteries or navigating the world post-trauma. Magary’s writing will draw in longtime fans and new readers.
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