Home » Being with Rachel: A Personal Story of Memory and Survival by Karen Brennan
Being with Rachel: A Personal Story of Memory and Survival Karen Brennan

Being with Rachel: A Personal Story of Memory and Survival

Karen Brennan

Published
ISBN : 9780393019612
Hardcover
256 pages
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 About the Book 

The call came at 6 A.M. Karen Brennans twenty-five-year-old daughter, Rachel, had been in a motorcycle accident. She was in a coma. Her CAT scan, the neurosurgeon said, was very, very ugly. Instantly, Karen Brennans life of comfortable dailinessMoreThe call came at 6 A.M. Karen Brennans twenty-five-year-old daughter, Rachel, had been in a motorcycle accident. She was in a coma. Her CAT scan, the neurosurgeon said, was very, very ugly. Instantly, Karen Brennans life of comfortable dailiness becomes passionate necessary-ness. Cautioned that her daughter will not be the same person, Brennan waits and hopes through weeks of intensive care, months of coma, and Rachels determined efforts to walk again. The joy of Rachels first words is followed by the discovery that she has a severe short-term memory deficit. Rachel cannot remember or fashion a simple narrative. A professor with a special interest in memory, Brennan takes up the challenge of helping Rachel rebuild herself. Jump-starting her daughters memory by constantly retelling Rachels own story, Brennan also fosters the creativity and humor that have always characterized her daughter. Their collaborative effort, bound by love, is a dynamic memoir of recovery and reinvention. Brennan says, Why am I writing this story? I ask myself. I am writing to discover the situation in which my daughter and I find ourselves. I am writing as a way of grieving, because writing is the only way I know how to work out my loss. And I think if I can construct the story of Rachels recovery, it might deliver me once and for all to hopefulness. Being with Rachel is for readers who want to be reminded of why books matter. Karen Brennans memoir advocates, illustrates, demonstrates the superhuman power of family, its ability to triumph in the face of worst-case scenarios, institutional aloofness, bad luck, and the evil influence of conventional wisdom. The family that emerges here is one built on a great deal of passionate, difficult love. This is a tough and inspiring and heartbreaking book.—Antonya Nelson Spare, understated, emotionally honest and yet unsentimental, this beautifully crafted memoir succeeds on two levels: both as an extraordinarily moving personal document and as a vital investigation into the nature of memory and narrative.—Andrea Barrett