*Received this book free from First To Read in exchange for an honest review. This has no affect on my opinion of the book or the content of this review.*


“All her life, Emily has felt different from other kids. Between therapist visits, sudden uncontrollable bursts of anger, and unexplained episodes of dizziness and loss of coordination, things have always felt not right. For years, her only escape was through the stories she’d craft about herself and the world around her. But it isn’t until a near-fatal accident when she’s twelve years old that Emily and her family discover the truth: a grapefruit sized benign brain tumor at the base of her skull. 

In turns candid, angry, and beautiful, Emily Wing Smith’s captivating memoir chronicles her struggles with both mental and physical disabilities during her childhood, the devastating accident that may have saved her life, and the means by which she coped with it all: writing.”


I enjoy reading memoirs. I like learning how other people deal with situations given to them in life. In most memoirs, you also learn about yourself and how your way of thinking is different than other people’s. Emily Wing Smith’s memoir is no different.

I really enjoyed reading her progression from child to adult. Since she was young, Smith has been in therapy. There are therapy reports scattered in the book. It was interesting to see how professionals saw Smith compared to how she saw herself.

I love the way she described her physical ailments. When she got headaches or dizziness, she would call it Woo Head. She had a Bad Hand. By giving them names, it gives them their own personality, and for Smith, they were an extension of herself and their own identities.

However, I do wish there was more talk of how she overcame all of these obstacles that once bore her down so hard, she never thought she’d be normal. In the book, she kind of glosses over her high school, college, and post-college years.  I would have loved to get more insight of what helped her become the functioning writer she is.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It was a quick read. Smith’s story is relateable even if you don’t have any mental health issues. She went through typical experiences that every middle schooler and high schooler goes through; she just had extra circumstances she had to get through.