A memoir of reinvention after a stroke at thirty-three, based on the author's viral Buzzfeed essay
Christine Hyung-Oak Lee woke up with a headache on New Year's Eve 2006. By that afternoon, she saw the world—quite literally—upside down. By New Year's Day, she was unable to form a coherent sentence. And after hours in the ER, days in the hospital, and multiple questions and tests, she learned that she had had a stroke. For months, Lee outsourced her memories to her notebook. It is from these memories that she has constructed this frank and compelling memoir.
In a precise and captivating narrative, Lee navigates fearlessly between chronologies, weaving her childhood humiliations and joys together with the story of the early days of her marriage; and then later, in painstaking, painful, and unflinching detail, her stroke and every upset, temporary or permanent, that it causes.
Lee processes her stroke and illuminates the connection between memory and identity in an honest, meditative, and truly funny manner, utterly devoid of self-pity. And as she recovers, she begins to realize that this unexpected and devastating event provides a catalyst for coming to terms with her true self.
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"Christine Hyung-Oak Lee's life becomes disjointed and fragmented when she suffers a stroke at the age of 33. She relies on her diaries to shed light on these events, and Emily Woo Zeller's timing and slightly detached tone are true to the stream-of-consciousness quality of the writing. By necessity, this time in Lee's life is repetitive as she re-learns the same things over and over about her diagnosis, treatment, and even the first page of SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE. Zeller successfully conveys Lee's feeling of being lost in time and space. But the jumps in time can be confusing as Lee recalls her courtship with her husband, self-loathing in college, postpartum depression, and divorce. At times, Zeller's performance sounds a little too enthusiastic for the trauma described, but her expressions of the flirtation and excitement of courtship are just lovely. A.B. © AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine"
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