The Day My Brain Exploded
Author: Ashok Rajamani
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Algonquin Books (January 22, 2013)
After a full-throttle brain bleed at the age of twenty-five, Ashok
Rajamani, a first-generation Indian American, had to relearn everything:
how to eat, how to walk and to speak, even things as basic as his
sexual orientation. With humor and insight, he describes the events of
that day (his brain exploded just before his brother’s wedding!), as
well as the long, difficult recovery period. In the process, he
introduces readers to his family—his principal support group, as well as
a constant source of frustration and amazement. Irreverent,
coruscating, angry, at times shocking, but always revelatory, his memoir
takes the reader into unfamiliar territory, much like the experience
Alice had when she fell down the rabbit hole. That he lived to tell the
story is miraculous; that he tells it with such aplomb is simply
More than a decade later he has finally reestablished
a productive artistic life for himself, still dealing with the effects
of his injury—life-long half-blindness and epilepsy— but forging ahead
as a survivor dedicated to helping others who have suffered a similar
You have to love Ashok. His sense of self-depreciation with a complete lack of self-pity (now anyway) is a wonderful breath of fresh air.
The book starts off as Ashok enjoys time with himself before his brother's wedding. Let's say he regrets that as it sets off the time bomb that's been ticking in his head.
After that the story bounces back and forth between the present and the past, giving us a good view of his family (I have strong daddy dislike), their actions and thoughts - to several years after his hemorrhage, when he feels he isn't given the compassion he deserves because he looks so good.
He painstakingly records his advance back into the world through actions, therapy and a very strong will to succeed. Through it all, he keeps a sense of humor, though extremely edgy at times, that I believe is so integral in healing and moving on.
I think this is a great book to simply read, and a fantastic book if you might have a reason to relate to the reason it exists.