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A Normal Life: A Sister's Odyssey Through Brain Injury Paperback – December 16, 2013
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About the Author
Lyrysa Smith has been a writer and journalist for more than 25 years in print, radio, and documentary television. Most recently, she worked as a staff writer with the Albany Times Union newspaper, specializing in writing profiles of local people doing remarkable things and articles about health, science, social issues, workplace, and consumer topics. She has also written scripts and produced documentaries for network, cable, and public television and worked as a reporter for a national newspaper in Zimbabwe while living there with a grant for journalists awarded from Rotary International. She received New York Press Association In-Depth Reporting awards for a newspaper series about people living with HIV/AIDS in rural upstate New York, and for a group project about underage alcohol use. She has won several Hearst newspapers awards for features stories on topics ranging from elder care to stem cell research. Lyrysa Smith is a graduate of Stanford University in English and Creative Writing, and completed literature, writing, journalism, political science, and history courses at Stanford-in-Britain in London and at the University of Zimbabwe.
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Top customer reviews
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First, and most obviously, this book will be highly relevant to anyone who is dealing with serious brain injury on a personal level. It provides a detailed understanding of the nature of this malady, the treatments, the range of prognosis, the complexity of dealing with medical providers, and the emotional roller coaster of having someone you care about become essentially a different person if and when they recover.
Secondly, it is a strong advocacy piece about the ease and dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. [I went out and bought CO detectors shortly after starting the book.] It is worth reading for this educational and motivation aspect alone.
Mostly, however, this is a book about family, love, acceptance and persistence. The Smiths are an extraordinary group of very talented, charismatic, and focused people. The most compelling part of this story is how they deal together with a set of circumstances that is incredibly demanding. The narrative is painfully honest and disclosing. The interactions amongst the family are often complicated and challenging. Molly, the subject of the book, is quite amazing post-recovery ...beautiful, fit, funny, motivated ...and sometimes quite difficult. Molly's family, especially her mother, are aspirational in their response to her.
This is a great read. It is well-written, poignant, and inspirational. You don't want to miss it.
The author has captured the events with great detail, the right amount of emotion and inspiration. The book is an example of maternal and family strength, love and commitment.
One will realize after reading this book, it will be especially helpful and educational to professional caregivers in all fields.
We picked it up and couldn't put it down, it's a factual and educational book that reads like a great story. Its full of lessons about life. A must read!
I could not put this book down. Lyrysa Smith draws the reader deeply into the incredible odyssey of her sister Molly and her family -- the roller coaster of emotions, the courage, the fears and joys. I was struck by how Molly's battle and the peaks and valleys her family endured highlight the very best aspects of human nature: humor, compassion, perseverance, courage, love, and forgiveness. This story is a heartfelt reminder that the human spirit is unconquerable and, in the end, capable of so much that is positive and uplifting.
Molly is so human, so much a reflection of each of us. We can relate to her experience because so much of it is a mirror of our own struggles. We can identify with Molly's frustrations, anger at her situation, and exasperation at the unexpected twists that life has thrown at her. Who hasn't looked around at some point and noticed how life seldom turns out the way we thought it would, that our plans are so fragile, so easily swept away by the torrent of uncontrollable events? Like Molly, we are, each of us, at the mercy of unseen forces.
The author's riveting story is augmented by practical observations and facts concerning carbon monoxide poisoning and brain injuries. The book stresses that carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable, and I think that anyone reading this book will take the suggested precautions to heart.