Thursday, 23 July 2015

Head Case: My Brain and Other Wonders by Cole Cohen

Cole Cohen is 26 years old when she is told that there is a hole in her brain the size of a lemon. After the initial shock subsides this diagnosis actually comes as something of a relief. Endless rounds of tests and doctor’s visits have plagued her youth and to finally have a tangible answer provides some comfort to Cohen and her family.

Head Case is Cohen’s story in her own words and it tells of the challenges she has faced since childhood. With learning difficulties and no sense of judgement for distance, direction and time she struggles with basic maths, is unable to maintain a steady job and can barely cross the road let alone drive a car. These deficiencies seem totally at odds with her obvious intelligence and extremely articulate nature.

We follow Cohen as she moves away from home, attends university and struggles through her first adult relationship. There are also flashbacks to her youth and poignant reflections on her family relationships. Her frustrations are clear, but she writes with such wit and humour that this book avoids sinking into self-pity.

Cohen’s ability to gain her Master’s degree and write a clever and engaging book is testament to her perseverance and the unique coping strategies that help her navigate the world. This is a fascinating memoir and a reminder that we all see the world in a different way.

Posted by CP

Catalogue link: Head Case

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