BRAINSTORM by Karen Osney Brownstein


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An ordeal lightly--perhaps too lightly--borne. Karen Brownstein, a writer of ""feminist comedy,"" was in her early thirties with two young children when she was told she had a brain tumor. There followed the rigors of diagnostic testing, brain surgery, drug therapy, and finally--most frightening, but successful--X-ray therapy. Her tale touches on the pitfalls of modern medicine--complex and painful procedures made worse by poor explanations, conflicting opinions, doctors away on vacation--which Brownstein handled by surrounding herself with family and friends, and (almost always) being ""smart and funny."" This sassiness, however, shields her from us as well as from her ordeal--we can't quite understand the depths of her struggle to accept radiation therapy, the impact/meaning of her discussions with her psychiatrists, or the importance of different friends who rallied (with various degrees of enthusiasm) to her side. In Brownstein's desire to write ""a funny book about a profoundly unfunny period of my life,"" she hasn't wallowed in misery or the horrifying side-effects. But the moments when she really comes through loud and clear--explaining to her son why mommy has to wear a wig, making friends with an X-ray machine--make one wish she'd written less clever dialogue, and told more about herself.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1980
Publisher: Macmillan