An intimate memoir of a profound affliction and resilience.

A personal study of the lasting effects of head trauma.

At the age of 35, Liontas, author of the novel Let Me Explain You, fell off her bike and suffered what doctors called a “mild head trauma.” That same year, she suffered two more concussions, when an infant car seat and a heavy potted plant hit her on the head. In 25 short musings—essays, verse, records of conversations with her wife—Liontas offers frank reflections on the physical, emotional, and cognitive consequences of her injuries. She also considers a range of related issues: her wife; queer identity; connection to her mother, an addict and a lesbian who abandoned her when she was an infant, and to her father, who disowned her when she married. She reports on the prevalence of head trauma among prisoners, which has given rise to the Trauma Justice League, and on concussions among famous people, including Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, Henry VIII, and George Clooney. Concussions, Liontas reveals, changed her life, transforming her into a person with a chronic—although invisible—disability. Assaulted by debilitating migraines, the author also experienced “mood swings, disequilibrium, disorientation, disinhibition,” and an intensifying “streak of isolationism.” Even years later, she could not abide “crowds, spice, alcohol, concerts, intense exercise, hunger, temperature regulation, movie screens, maps, math, recipes, anything which requires holding on to two things in your mind at once.” After the traumas, she writes, “you walk around with the sense that you are ghostwritten into your own life.” That sense of disorientation affected her marriage, as well. The head injuries “had turned us into strangers” and, as the title reveals, affected sex. Though at times, Liontas did not know if she—and her marriage—would survive, her memoir stands as testimony to love and patience.

An intimate memoir of a profound affliction and resilience.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2024

ISBN: 9781668015544

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

Original Source Link

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