Skip to main content

Book 46 of 52: A Brain Wider than the Sky: A Migraine Diary

Fair warning: my brain and writing ability have briefly left me. I'm not surprised -- I hit a major deadline last Thursday, and my brain typically shuts off after such an event. Here's a better explaination.

I'm starting to come out of it, but rather than wait for 100 percent function to write the review, I'll share it with you now because I like to write the review the day I finish the book.

I don't suffer migraines. My brother did, though. He'd throw up, lock himself into a room, and fall asleep. He still gets them sometimes, I believe, but not as bad as Andrew Levy, author of A Brain Wider Than the Sky: A Migraine Diary, a fascinating and painful-to-read book about living with migraines.

I had no idea that migraines could affect your vision, or last for months at a time. I also didn't know how many artists either suffered migraines or are thought to have suffered migraines: Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Picasso, Elvis. The title comes from a line of Dickenson's poetry. According to Levy, scholars think that Charles Dodgson, author of Alice in Wonderland, either suffered migraines or wrote what children described to him as migraines: the falling down a hole, feeling like you're tall and small, not being able to speak in the sentences you form in your head.

To a non-sufferer, it's scary, and I don't know how people cope with it. There's no sure-fire fix, either, and Levy experiments with different ways to just make the pain go away.

If you suffer migraines or know someone who does, it's well worth the read. Even if you don't know of someone who comes out and says "I have them," you might and they might be silent about it -- 12 percent of Americans get migraines, and 50 percent more people suffer from migraines than depression. Yikes.

Comments

Melissa said…
I'm a migraine sufferer, so this book sounds interesting to me. Fascinating about Alice in Wonderland .... that is EXACTLY what mine feel like (falling down a hole, feeling tall and small, etc.) Never thought of it like that before.
Sue said…
I just started reading this book yesterday, as someone who has been controlled much of her life by migraines I was almost teary as I read the introduction and Levy's descriptions of migraine symptons. So often I have felt unable to put into words the ways a migraine effects me, both physically and emotionally. He has nailed it.

Popular posts from this blog

Book 5 of 52: Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen

I don't always try to match my reading to what I'm doing, but when I go to Florida, I try to pack at least one Florida weird book. There was no better novel to bring with me to read on a ferry from Key West to Dry Tortugas National Park , than Carl Hiaasen's Stormy Weather . Hiaasen was writing about #floridaman before #floridaman was a thing (and when this - # - was the pound sign).  Stormy Weather is set in 1992 in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, which is still the most destructive hurricane to have ever hit Florida, and only one of four hurricanes to make landfall in the U.S. still at Category 5 strength. According to the Miami Herald , Hurricane Andrew destroyed 63,000 homes and damaged another 101,241. Such disasters bring out the best in humanity but also the worst. F raud flowed into South Florida in Andrew's wake . That's where  Stormy Weather comes in. From an advertising executive who yanks his new wife away from their Walt Disney World honeymoon to r

Book 11 of 52: The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

In my travels, I've accumulated photos in what I call the "Plants Where They Shouldn't Be" series. They're of weeds, flowers and trees growing in places that look uncomfortable: poking out of lava that's OK to walk on but warm enough to generate steam, growing around a mile marker on the road, sprouting on the back of a parking sign - that kind of thing. On the cheesy side, they're reminders that we can flourish in the most unlikely circumstances. On a more realistic end, they show that humans are constantly battling back nature, and that someday we'll probably lose the fight. I thought about those photos when I read  book 8 of 52 Station Eleven  (and watched  the HBO Max adaptation ), which show a world without 99.99 percent of our current human population. The story focuses on people, of course, but set them in a world where the things humans have created - electricity, internet, buildings, bridges, roads - are being taken back by nature. A Jersey Sh

Welcome Back to Book a Week with Jen!

Hello hello! Yes, the rumors (that I started) are true. On New Year's Day, I fired up the old Book a Week with Jen blog, gave it a new domain, and I'm going to be writing about my reading habits once again. If you don't know me, my name is Jen A. Miller , and I'm a freelance writer and author. I've been freelancing now for 17 years, and in that time, have written hundreds of articles, three books ( two about the Jersey Shore and one about running ), and two ebooks ( both about freelance writing ). If you're not new around here, wow a lot has changed. I wrote a memoir , picked up a regular running column for the New York Times , and put that back down again. I ran a lot of marathons, and got into ultra marathoning, which lead me to run my first 24 hour race on New Year's Eve/New Year's Day 2020/2021 . My first dog, Emily, died in 2017 . I sold my first home, lived out of my car for a year traveling the country , scooped up a scruffy cattle dog mix in Ida