Dr. Clark Elliott’s medical memoir, The Ghost in My Brain, is one of the best I’ve read. Elliott, who is a PhD teaching Artificial Intelligence in Chicago, describes the effects of a concussion like nothing else I’ve seen. To discuss the resulting book and it’s descriptions as impressive is only part of the story. Once you read how damaged Elliott’s brain was, you’ll be stunned he was able to write such a cogent and compelling book.
I have a dear friend who’s experienced a number of severe concussions. She has a hard time explaining how it feels to live with this condition. Now I can put this book in her hands, and say, “I think I understand more.”
The neglect, misdiagnosis, and ignorance of medical professionals is also central to Elliott’s story. As he describes the daunting challenges of each day, he continues to try to get help solving the damage to his brain. Year after year passes, with no help from neurological specialists. Finally, Elliott and an assistant find a potential solution. This reminded me again, that patients have to keep pushing for answers. Despite all that we hear about concussions, the actual treatment methods are buried under misunderstanding and obfuscation.
Elliott describes in detail his process of recovery. I rejoiced along with him! Not just because I can empathize, but because he illustrates the gains with such fervor. I am amazed at how far he was able to come in returning to wholeness. Okay, I’m fangirling. I’ll stop.
If you’re interested in brain plasticity and medical stories, this is a superb book. I’d consider it right up there with Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan. The writing style is clear, despite including some medical terminology. Elliott focuses on his experience with some brain science on the side, which makes it eminently readable. I listened to the audiobook read by Arthur Morey, who has a pleasant tone and strong grasp on the content. I highly recommend it!