A quirky memoir about a girl with a medical mystery? Count me in! Thank You to Henry Holt & Company for gifting me with an advanced copy of Cole Cohen's Head Case, in exchange for an honest review.
PLOT - Cole Cohen was always a little different. It took her longer to learn to tie her shoes and as a teenager, it was impossible to teach her to drive. She struggled with directions, distance and being able to tell her lefts from her rights. She managed to graduate from high school and even go on to college, but she needed not only academic tutoring, but lots of assistance in basic living skills. She was in her mid-twenties when doctors discovered a lemon sized hole in her brain. An exact reason for how she got the hole, remains a mystery, but armed with a explanation for her struggles, Cohen must now forge ahead and build her life.
LIKE - Cohen's struggles are fascinating. It's amazing to me that the human brain can function at such a high level with a lemon sized piece missing. Although her struggles are real and in no way small, she is still able to excel in many areas, especially with language and writing. She goes on to graduate school and is a professor. She learns how to work with her skills and to work around her disability. It's inspiring. Cohen writes her memoirs with wit and very little self-pity, making me connect with her. This is not just a story about her diagnosis, it's also about an ordinary woman struggling with basic issues, like breaking away from her parents, discovering her passions and finding love. It's relatable.
DISLIKE - I know this is a memoir and it's Cohen's life, good and bad, but I lost interest towards the end, when the story was heavy on her relationship with Charlie. He was cold, distant and a little off-beat. I couldn't see what she saw in him or how their relationship spanned several years. The longer that Charlie was in the picture, the more I drifted away from relating to Cohen. It was hard to bounce back from this feeling in the last chapters of the book.
RECOMMEND - Yes! If you're a fan of memoirs, Head Case is great pick. I think that Cohen's story would also resonate strongly among 20-30 year old women and anyone with a disability.