In 1996, Jill Bolte Taylor, a thirty-seven-year-old brain scientist experienced a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. Over the next four hours, she observed her mind deteriorate to the point that she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life. During the stroke, Taylor alternated between the euphoria of the right brain, in which she felt a sense of complete well-being and peace, and flashes from her the logical left brain, which recognized she was having a stroke and enabled her to seek help before she was completely lost. It would take her eight years to fully recover.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
This was a fascinating story, especially the chapters in which Taylor describes the morning of her stroke and the sensations she experienced. We were so impressed by her ability to phone for help, even when she could not remember what numbers looked like. Her road to recovery was also intriguing -for instance when her mother’s suggestion to use colour as a clue snaps her mind into recognizing colours. We were saddened when Taylor worried about her HMO’s reaction during her stroke, and surprised when she confessed to driving before she had learned to read. While repetitious in places, the book was an inspiration and should be a must read for anyone who lives with the consequences of a stroke.