Industrial Deals Best Books of the Month Casual Friday Style nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Weekly One GNO for Samsung S9 Prime exclusive: $24.99 for a limited time Grocery Handmade Personalized Jewelry Home and Garden Book a house cleaner for 2 or more hours on Amazon marchmadness marchmadness marchmadness  Echo Introducing All-New Fire HD 10 with Alexa hands-free $149.99 Kindle Oasis AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Shop Now TG18SW_gno

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
A Great Place for a Seizure
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:$10.00+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on June 24, 2013
As a deaf person, I find a great many unsettling parallels between my own experiences and the brutal themes explored in Terry Tracy's A Great Place for a Seizure. One such theme is the question of identity: if you have a disability (epilepsy in the case of Tracey's main character, Mischa Dunn) are you a disabled person? Or are you a person with a disability? Who or what is at the forefront, in other words, the master sculptor shaping you into what you are? Are you the sum totality of your experiences, or is each experience altered, perhaps even overpowered, by something that is far more than a mere part of you?

Are you an epileptic or a person with epilepsy?

The novel, which is actually a collection of short stories depicting various phases of Mischa's life, confronts both the reader and Mischa simultaneously with this question. And a fascinating life it is: her childhood in Chile and her father's constant alarm with the growing oppression of the regime running the country at the time (coupled with his growing alarm over the seizures his daughter was already starting to have), her move back to America and the atmosphere of an all-girls Catholic school, her complex relationship with her mother's heavy emphasis on relationships and beauty, college, the quirks of living in Cambridge and the British mindset, and the equally quirky mindset of working in Washington DC's advocacy groups/policy think tanks.

While there are several personal similarities I share with Mischa that were immensely rewarding to read about (I too work in DC, know a lot of people who work in advocacy fields, am familiar with the lingo and mannerisms of the region and the business--all of these are highly detailed and exceedingly accurate throughout the portions of the novel that relate to DC), the greater part of the kinship I felt with Mischa centered around other similarities we share.

I mentioned above the fact that I am deaf not to make myself in any way the focus of this review, but rather to outline further parallels between Mischa's experiences and what may seem hauntingly familiar to any person with any kind of disability. As an educator I could identify strongly with the initial reactions of Mischa's parents: their shock, confusion, the scramble to find out what was wrong, endless visits to doctors. This is a story often repeated not only by deaf people in my own community but also by many of their parents. An additional issue I could identify with was the constant leaping between cultures and languages. For Mischa this is Spanish and English, Latin America, America, and Europe. For me and many deaf people this is English and American Sign Language, the hearing world and Deaf Culture. These experiences are not exact copies of each other, of course, but are comparable in some ways. I, like Mischa, have often felt a sense of alienation among deaf and hearing people alike. Not all deaf people are like me just because they are deaf, but I am not like hearing people precisely because they are hearing. And no, I really can't explain that any better than I already have. But I recognized a kindred spirit in Mischa when she confronted the issue from her own vantage point.

I could also identify strongly with Mischa's growing distaste for doctors, especially those who treated her as a "case," or a "file," rather than as a human being. In one chapter Mischa erupts at a doctor who apparently skimmed her file only minutes before the appointment and mapped out an aggressive and inappropriate suggestion for treatment that Mischa, who has been around this particular block more times than she can count, wants nothing to do with. So it is among many deaf people as well, the automatic suggestions (by doctors and laypeople alike) that one get a cochlear implant, the expectation that the medical "fix" really fixes everything, that all people will respond the same way to the same treatment. The subtle disappointment and not-so-subtle blaming and hostility when they don't.
I especially identified with Mischa's contempt with the term "disabled," and would not be surprised if quite a few "disabled" people share this contempt. To me, as it is to Mischa, this term is a term for weakness, for deficiency. As a deaf man I don't see the deficiency as residing within me. It resides in the world I live in, in a world that is not designed for me. I had always wondered if other people with various disabilities shared my view on this, and A Great Place for a Seizure is an interesting take on that general attitude. For example, if a building has stairs but no ramp, is the deficiency (if you accept the premise suggested earlier) within the person with mobility issues, or in the design of the building? Now with epilepsy, the premise (from the point of view I had prior to reading the book) comes under a bit of fire, because how can one design a building, an environment, a society to accommodate a seizure? I ask this question not to belittle the efforts of those with epilepsy to obtain such accommodations, but to clarify the frustration and ridicule they might experience in trying to do so.
Mischa does not frame the issue in precisely this manner, but the haunting similarities are there. Is she concerned with potential discrimination? Absolutely. Barriers in her chosen field of work? Absolutely. The ignorance of people around her, and how they'll react after one of her seizures? Yes. Because Terry Tracy herself lives with epilepsy, the writing is starkly authentic. And because I am deaf, because I, like her, have no choice but to be what I am, because I cannot run away from it or take a break from it or turn the world into something else with a snap of my fingers, the writing and the issues explored are often uncomfortable. Painful, even. But Tracy draws us into a life that demands our empathy, not our sympathy or pity.

In closing I must address a final issue. Not only does Tracy address the question of her own identity, both as an epileptic and as a person with epilepsy, but also the identity of epilepsy itself. I was pleased to learn of the deep and rich history, both mythological and factual, behind the condition. This too has strong parallels with deafness and how society has perceived deafness (and why it perceives the condition the way it does). I was waiting to see if there was, if not exactly a culture of such individuals, then a community, a kinship of some kind. Mischa appears to have stayed separate from such a community if there is one, but she did not shy away from defining epilepsy herself, and her definition is a highly realistic mix that matches my own definition of deafness. In days past I too viewed it as an oppressor (her terms are stalker and predator). However, I came to see it, as Mischa also saw her epilepsy, as a companion and a mentor. A guide opening my eyes to the true nature of humanity--not just my own but its entire continuum, and I honestly believe that the perspectives I hold today would not be the same perspectives I would have had I been born hearing and remained so. Thus, because Tracy through Mischa validates these beliefs, I felt a great sense of spiritual reward at the end of the novel. It ends in the only way it can, given the style of writing and the seeming contradiction between writing from a first-person viewpoint yet somehow getting into the heads of other characters and writing from their viewpoints, as well. Readers will understand how this could possibly occur when they get to the end, and I won't give that away here. But when readers understand what I'm talking about, they will also hopefully understand that these stories are not a collection of difficulties and tragedies. They are her way of saying "This is who I am, all the ways in which I came to be, all that defined me, and ultimately the way I defined myself." Telling them was her act of definition, the greatest single act of strength and empowerment any of us can undertake.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on September 11, 2013
As someone with epilepsy, I thought the author did a really good job describing the day to day realities of having seizures. I don't remember my seizures, so it was fascinating to read her descriptions of what happens and how it feels. It's not the most well-written book, but I was engrossed enough in the story to overlook that. Don't bother with the last chapter, though, unless you really loved Danielle Steele novels in the 80s. It ends the story in a sudden and overly dramatic way that doesn't flow with the rest of the book, and seems like it was just tacked onto the end. Otherwise, it's worth reading.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on July 14, 2012
This may not be the next best seller but if you, a friend, or a family member have epilepsy, this is a great story about what the person with epilepsy is thinking and going through, as well as the opportunities that may be open to them in terms of education and employment. Things ARE improving in our society in terms of acceptance of disabilities. This is simply a well balanced, credible book, though each individual's opportunities and challenges are, of course, unique. It's the best at presenting the real-life situations surrounding epilepsy that I've read, to date.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on January 22, 2012
As the mother of a daughter that was recently diagnosed with Epilepsy, I wasn't sure if I'd be emotionally prepared to read this book, but I am so happy that I did. I loved the "novelory" style with short chapters that each navigate the reader through a different part of Mischa's life. It was effortless to read and although it was tough to put it down, it was very easy to pick back up when I had a few moments of free time. I didn't have to retrace my literary steps like I have had to with other novels. I finished the book in 3 days (luckily a weekend) because I found myself unusually enchanted with Mischa as I rooted for her throughout her journey. The ending was surprising, poignant and appropriate.

This book is about so much more than Epilepsy, just like people that live with it. I thank Terry Tracy from the bottom of my heart for sharing this story with us. Please write more!
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on March 12, 2012
I am an AVID reader, of all kinds of books. From true-crime, to fiction, to academic works. And every once in awhile a book will come around and actually MOVE me. This is one of those books! This book is written in such a unique way, I have never seen it's like. I've never actually ENJOYED reading a "table of contents" before!! LOL And even if Epilepsy or seizures have never touched your life before, this is STILL an immensely enjoyable read. You come to Love and care about Mischa's character. You WANT her to do well, and you root for her the whole book through. She is a strong independent woman, she has some incredible friends, and the story line is pure enjoyment! You can read this book two ways, as each chapter is a Short Story in itself. But when you read them in sequence, then you get a bigger picture novel. I also learned A LOT from this book, as my son, who is 3 years old, has Epilepsy. From the earliest history of Epilepsy, which I found to be HIGHLY fascinating, to the very in depth and detailed way she describes Mischa's seizures, it has answered a lot of questions for me. As a parent of a child with Epilepsy I have no way of knowing how my child is FEELING, or what he is going through. (He has developmental delays) So being able to actually READ what a seizure Feels, Smells,& Tastes like, (YES I said TASTES!) meant the WORLD to me. Of course, my son has more types of seizures than Mischa does, but the point IS that I got a sneak peek into how he FEELS, and what he actually goes through. And that was a rare gift. For that I will be forever grateful to Ms. Tracy for writing this book. I would HIGHLY recommend buying this book! I'd have bought this book for Chapter 23 ALONE! It's Amazing! And the ending is so poignant and heartfelt, it actually moved me to tears. (That almost NEVER happens.) Once I picked it up to read it, I could NOT put it down! PLEASE CHECK OUT THIS BOOK! I truly hope you do,& give this book a try. You will NOT regret it!!! I know I didn't! :)
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on December 25, 2011
"A great place for a seizure" tells the tale of the many-faceted woman Micha. Micha is a woman with an international career and background. She is also a woman who copes, in her own way, with the challenge of living with epilepsy. She was born in Chile, studied in the United States and Cambridge, and works in Guatemala and later Washington D.C. At the age of 14, Micha discovers that she has epilepsy. The book provides a vivid tale of how Micha tackles living with a fairly severe form of the disease throughout her life.

While it was perhaps the first story, of a woman with an international history and career, that initially interested me the most, it was the second story, of a women growing up with epilepsy that subsequently made this book so appealing to me. With this book Terry Tracy provides us with a fascinating story that includes depth and detail. The character and her issues and experiences become very much alive to the reader. It is interesting to follow how a young woman with an international career, friends and family, tackles this illness, and the major impact it has on her life (although Micha would probably, on some level, prefer to deny this). The descriptions of what it's like to live with epilepsy are very interesting. Examples are peoples' reactions to her seizures and her experiences with the many doctors she encounters. I would highly recommend this captivating book, about a fascinating and intricate woman and about a very important illness. The story is truly gripping.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on August 10, 2013
This could be my life. I have researched my seizures like the character Mischa in this book. Catamenial temporal lobe seizures are exactly what I have been dealing with for over 30 years. Denial, anger, doctors who wouldn't listen, they were all part of my experience. Wow, what a connection with a book! I will be looking for more by Terry Tracy.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on January 14, 2012
What impressed me most about "A Great Place for a Seizure" is the author's writing style. She grabs her readers by the throat immediately, from the intriguing title, and doesn't let go until the end. There isn't a single wasted word in this fascinating story. So often throughout the book I asked myself, "Now, why can't I write like that?" As a fellow epileptic I could relate only too well to her descriptions. As a fellow writer, I admire her command of language. No matter whether you have epilepsy or not, you will find yourself engrossed in a rich story. Kudos to Tracy for a superb job.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on November 1, 2015
This is an insightful, moving, and gripping read. Terry Tracy gives an honest account through autobiography and fiction of life with epilepsy that unfolds seamlessly through her story telling. Her account of life and seizures is interspersed with humor and grounded with context of time and place. I would strongly recommend this book for all (as the story can apply across health experiences), and people living with epilepsy, friends, and family. As for the neurologists out there, whether current or aspiring, it should be a must read.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on January 3, 2014
mischa is a young women with terrible seizures, and explains each event in detail. where she was, who helped and who didn't, and how she picked herself up (literally and mentally) every time. this was the first epilepsy memoir i'd read, and now i'm hooked. own half a dozen now and they're all vastly different, especially this one. biggest thing about it is her positivity in the midst of emotional and physical pain, and the words she uses when we're 'with it' again. as it's so easy for us to drown in anguish in this disease, this book's an excellent example of how strong we become by picking ourselves back up after each seizure and carrying on.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Need customer service? Click here