The Beauty in Disaster: A Review of My Stroke of Insight


Can anything good come out of a life-threatening illness? For neuro-scientist and major stroke survivor Jill Bolte Taylor, the answer is a resounding Yes!

After undergoing a stroke caused by a rare congenital condition in her brain, Taylor experienced reality in a completely new, wonderful, Zen way -- and then she was rushed to the hospital.  

But as she recovered her speech, movement, and cognitive abilities, she retained a sense of the peacefulness and connection to the rest of the universe that she experienced as the left hemisphere of her brain was going offline.  In her memoir, My Stroke of Insight, Taylor describes not only the stroke and her recovery process, but also how she learned to adjust her "normal" personality to become a less angry and more balanced person.

Taylor's story is truly inspiring, and would be welcome support to any family facing the aftermath of stroke.  It also provides solid information about the signs of stroke, and great tips for interacting with anyone who is ill or has suffered from a health trauma.

From a more academic point of view, this is a great non-fiction read! It could be used for an assignment on memoirs, science, health, illness, or even autobiography. Taylor writes with humor and humility about her experience, and although the topic is serious, the tone is light and inviting. I promise, this book will lift you up, not get you down.

The information about the brain is accessible to any lay-person and is not overly-technical, yet you will walk away feeling you have learned more about your own brain and how its two hemispheres work together.

Visit Jill Bolte Taylor's website, where you can watch her TEDTalk and find out more about her career and contributions to understanding the left and right brain. This book is also available as an audiobook, read by the author. Recommended for 10th - 12th grade readers.