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The Night the Lights Went Out: A Memoir of Life After Brain Damage

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A fascinating, darkly funny comeback story of learning to live with a broken mind after a near-fatal traumatic brain injury--from the acclaimed author of The Hike. Drew Magary, fan-favorite Defector and former Deadspin columnist, is known for his acerbic takes and his surprisingly nuanced chronicling of his own life. But in The Night the Lights Went Out, he finds himself fa A fascinating, darkly funny comeback story of learning to live with a broken mind after a near-fatal traumatic brain injury--from the acclaimed author of The Hike. Drew Magary, fan-favorite Defector and former Deadspin columnist, is known for his acerbic takes and his surprisingly nuanced chronicling of his own life. But in The Night the Lights Went Out, he finds himself far out of his depths. On the night of the 2018 Deadspin Awards, he suffered a mysterious fall that caused him to smash his head so hard on a cement floor that he cracked his skull in three places and suffered a catastrophic brain hemorrhage. For two weeks, he remained in a coma. The world was gone to him, and him to it. In his long recovery from his injury, including understanding what his family and friends went through as he lay there dying, coming to terms with his now permanent disabilities, and trying to find some lesson in this cosmic accident, he leaned on the one sure thing that he knows and that didn't leave him--his writing. Drew takes a deep dive into what it meant to be a bystander to his own death and figuring out who this new Drew is: a Drew that doesn't walk as well, doesn't taste or smell or see or hear as well, and a Drew that is often failing as a husband and a father as he bounces between grumpiness, irritability, and existential fury. But what's a good comeback story without heartbreak? Eager to get back what he lost, Drew experiences an awakening of a whole other kind in this incredibly funny, medically illuminating, and heartfelt memoir.


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A fascinating, darkly funny comeback story of learning to live with a broken mind after a near-fatal traumatic brain injury--from the acclaimed author of The Hike. Drew Magary, fan-favorite Defector and former Deadspin columnist, is known for his acerbic takes and his surprisingly nuanced chronicling of his own life. But in The Night the Lights Went Out, he finds himself fa A fascinating, darkly funny comeback story of learning to live with a broken mind after a near-fatal traumatic brain injury--from the acclaimed author of The Hike. Drew Magary, fan-favorite Defector and former Deadspin columnist, is known for his acerbic takes and his surprisingly nuanced chronicling of his own life. But in The Night the Lights Went Out, he finds himself far out of his depths. On the night of the 2018 Deadspin Awards, he suffered a mysterious fall that caused him to smash his head so hard on a cement floor that he cracked his skull in three places and suffered a catastrophic brain hemorrhage. For two weeks, he remained in a coma. The world was gone to him, and him to it. In his long recovery from his injury, including understanding what his family and friends went through as he lay there dying, coming to terms with his now permanent disabilities, and trying to find some lesson in this cosmic accident, he leaned on the one sure thing that he knows and that didn't leave him--his writing. Drew takes a deep dive into what it meant to be a bystander to his own death and figuring out who this new Drew is: a Drew that doesn't walk as well, doesn't taste or smell or see or hear as well, and a Drew that is often failing as a husband and a father as he bounces between grumpiness, irritability, and existential fury. But what's a good comeback story without heartbreak? Eager to get back what he lost, Drew experiences an awakening of a whole other kind in this incredibly funny, medically illuminating, and heartfelt memoir.

30 review for The Night the Lights Went Out: A Memoir of Life After Brain Damage

  1. 5 out of 5

    Petra X it's my birthday & I'll cry if I want to

    Review The first part of the book was the author as a child, as a young man, as a middle-aged man married with a family and then The Collapse. And that's where the book that was a bit tedious until that point really took off. But it was maddening. Naturally the author couldn't tell his own story of the collapse and subsequent medically-induced coma, so it was told, very slowly, through many witnesses. Since all the writing was the same and there were so many names, I couldn't differentiate one f Review The first part of the book was the author as a child, as a young man, as a middle-aged man married with a family and then The Collapse. And that's where the book that was a bit tedious until that point really took off. But it was maddening. Naturally the author couldn't tell his own story of the collapse and subsequent medically-induced coma, so it was told, very slowly, through many witnesses. Since all the writing was the same and there were so many names, I couldn't differentiate one from the other and if I hadn't been so interested in the subject I would have given up at this point. This is how it went. The capitals and brackets are the author's, the descriptive sentence is me shortening one or more paragraphs. MEGAN GREENWELL (editor in chief, Deadspin) how the author was before the show VICTOR JEFFREYS (colleague) how the author was before the show (another viewpoint) BARRY PETCHESKY (deputy editor, Deadspin) how the author was before the show (third viewpoint) HOWARD (my best friend) How the author was before the show MATT UFFORD (friend, former colleague) missed the show JESSE on the author getting weed candy (which he didn't eat) CHRIS THOMPSON (writer, Deadspin) on the author drinking a beer and looking drunk BOBBY SILVERMAN (writer, Daily Beast) on the author looking off-colour JORGE CORONA (creative producer, Deadspin) On the author falling down KIRAN CHITVIS (video director, Deadspin) On seeing the author fallen down JORGE CORONA on needing to call an ambulance KIRAN CHITANVIS on calling an ambulance MEGAN GREENWELL On Kiran looking stricken and there being karaoke SAMER KALAF (news editor, Deadspin) on the situation and karoake KIRAN CHITANVIS On Victor coming in with pizzas VICTOR JEFFREYS On coming in with pizzas JORGE CORONA On seeing blood behind the author's head BARRY PETCHESKY on the blood KIRAN CHITANVIS on the author's position on the floor And so on for another 24 messages including at least 4 new people. Eight chapters are written like this. The name of the person and what they do/their relationship to the author for the first message and then one or more paragraphs all written in the same voice. I couldn't keep anyone straight and it didn't matter anyway since they all sounded alike. Part two is a great deal more interesting as it is the author talking about going home with brain damage, his adjustment and the deficits. Part three the same, very interesting. The two things that concern the author most are his lack of his sense of smell, and how he deals with it (smell training) and most of all the loss of hearing in one ear only. He eventually undergoes a cochlear implant which he writes about in a very detailed and interesting manner. 5 star section. The author also discusses trying to sue first his company and then the place in which the event he was hosting and his collapse took place. As they say, a person who has himself for a lawyer has a fool for a client and the judge wouldn't even listen to the case. In the event he did get a lawyer and didn't sue anyone since he wasn't going to win. An accident is an accident. I know litigation is almost an American hobby, and since lawyers take on cases on contingency, a lot of people think it is worth a go, but the author didn't pursue it. I can't see how it was anyone's fault any way. Just something happened internally to the author which caused him to fall over and the subsequent brain damage. The last chapter, Christmas 2019, normal life was boring. The epilogue catching the reader up on what people mentioned in the book are doing now (I had forgotten who they were) was good only because it was the end of the book. I didn't find the book lived up to the blurb, "A fascinating, darkly funny comeback story", it wasn't fascinating and it wasn't funny. What it was, was informative, interesting and very personal. If I met the author at a cocktail party (he doesn't like the noise), talking to him would be easy, I know him already. So this book is not a sum of it's parts, it's better than that, overall it's a 4 star and recommended to anyone who might be involved in any way with someone with a traumatic brain injury. I hope the author goes from strength to strength and lives a happy and fulfilled life and suggest he carries a bottle of Matouk's hot sauce as that will bring his weak sense of taste to life, as it did mine. ____________________ Update Test your own sense of smell https://abscent.org/learn-us/smell-tr.... I lost my sense of taste for about 6-8 months after Covid in Feb 2020. But I didn't lose my sense of smell, or I thought I didn't. I wish I'd seen this test back then. I knew I lost my sense of taste because I never use salt, and I was salting everything (view spoiler)[ with the most exclusive salt in the world from a mangrove pond that has huge salt crystals in the years there is a drought after a big storm to flood it. Happens maybe once every 10 years. There is no industry for thousands of miles since our weather comes from the Sahara over 3,000 miles away, so it's very pure. You can actually taste the difference with ordinary sea or table salt. (hide spoiler)] and throwing on Matouk's hottest hot sauce https://www.hotsauce.com/matouks-hot-... with abandon. Normally it takes me a year to get through a bottle, and then the cap is rusty so I throw it away. It took me only 3 months to get through a bottle.... I could feel the burn, but it was worth it to taste the food. ____________________ Notes on reading This book has 61 reviews, almost all of them are freebies, only 2 or 3 may not be. Naturally they are overwhelming glowing finding the book fascinating and no doubt 'darkly funny' as the blurb is trying to tell me that's how I must view the book. It makes sense, why would Netgalley and the publishers give away books for negative reviews? (view spoiler)[This is not to say all freebie reviewers only review positively, my friends' list has freebie reviewers who speak as they find which helps me identify new books possibly worth buying for my bookshop. (hide spoiler)]

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Highly recommended for fans of memoirs, especially medical memoirs. Thank you to Random House for the gifted book. The Nights the Light Went Out is the story of columnist Drew Magary’s life, especially after his traumatic brain injury when he fell and cracked his skull, causing a brain hemorrhage. Drew spends two weeks in a coma, and when he awakes, it’s a long road to recovery. I love love loved this book so much. As soon as he can, Drew does what he knows best. He writes. It takes him two long ye Highly recommended for fans of memoirs, especially medical memoirs. Thank you to Random House for the gifted book. The Nights the Light Went Out is the story of columnist Drew Magary’s life, especially after his traumatic brain injury when he fell and cracked his skull, causing a brain hemorrhage. Drew spends two weeks in a coma, and when he awakes, it’s a long road to recovery. I love love loved this book so much. As soon as he can, Drew does what he knows best. He writes. It takes him two long years to recover, and he boldly shares his personal journey with the reader. I loved his sense of humor, even in the midst of this challenging journey, and I was not expecting this book to make me laugh and smile as much as it did. I also enjoyed getting to know his family. Overall, The Night the Lights Went Out is a smoothly written memoir that’s interesting, refreshingly honest, absorbing, and completely enjoyable. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  3. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Few writers make me laugh out loud as much as Drew Magary. My husband was a fan of Deadspin, where Magary used to write, and he would often share funny Magary articles with me. And I had previously read his book "Someone Could Get Hurt," which is an amusing memoir about parenting. So we were shocked to learn that in December 2018, Drew had collapsed from a brain bleed and nearly died. "The Night the Lights Went Out" is a story of what happened before his collapse and his recovery. I wanted to lis Few writers make me laugh out loud as much as Drew Magary. My husband was a fan of Deadspin, where Magary used to write, and he would often share funny Magary articles with me. And I had previously read his book "Someone Could Get Hurt," which is an amusing memoir about parenting. So we were shocked to learn that in December 2018, Drew had collapsed from a brain bleed and nearly died. "The Night the Lights Went Out" is a story of what happened before his collapse and his recovery. I wanted to listen to the audiobook version because Drew narrated it himself. And Drew was an engaging performer, but the first third of the book is largely taken up by Drew's friends and family recounting their experiences during his coma, which didn't work as well in audiobook form. It was interesting to hear their perspective, and they all gave insight into Drew's behavior before he collapsed, but I think this section of the book would be easier to read in print. Aside from liking Drew's writing, I had another personal reason for wanting to read his story. My mother suffered from brain tumors, and his descriptions of how it felt to recover from such a serious brain injury helped me better understand what my mother had been through. It also made me admire her grace even more, as Drew admits he was angry at the world after his collapse and was a pill to be around. I had taken for granted that my mother was patient, grateful and kind in the face of such medical obstacles, when she could have just as easily been angry and bitter. I appreciated Drew's honesty in sharing his feelings, as it reminded me again of what an amazing woman my mother was. I would recommend "The Night the Lights Went Out" to anyone who likes stories of resilience and recovery, or if you know someone who has suffered a brain injury. And I look forward to reading whatever Drew writes next. Favorite Passage "It's those inexplicable facets of love that give it an eternal sheen. The people who saved me? They had always been saving me, and they're still saving me to this day. I'm still processing this — in ways both conscious and unconscious — and I suppose I always will. But that processing is more of a gift than a burden. It's a reminder of what I have, and a reminder to preserve my family's memory of me as my own. We are each other's memories. We are each other's brains. We are, forever, rewiring one another."

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    This is a medical memoir unlike any other. Drew Magary collapsed at an after-party in a Karaoke bar, waking up two weeks later having suffered a mysterious subdural hemorrhage, causing him to crash to concrete and fracture his skull in three places. This is the account in his own words of what happens when a person encounters a traumatic brain injury (TMI). At times hilarious and harrowing, Drew is unstinting in his descriptions of the physical insults delivered to his body, the losses (yes, plu This is a medical memoir unlike any other. Drew Magary collapsed at an after-party in a Karaoke bar, waking up two weeks later having suffered a mysterious subdural hemorrhage, causing him to crash to concrete and fracture his skull in three places. This is the account in his own words of what happens when a person encounters a traumatic brain injury (TMI). At times hilarious and harrowing, Drew is unstinting in his descriptions of the physical insults delivered to his body, the losses (yes, plural) of several of his senses, and the long road to in some cases recovery, in some, acceptance in dealing with permanent loss. As with that of his right ear. Being a gregarious soul and a sensual lover of all life has to offer, he fights hard to regain those pleasures. But when the cerebrum is damaged, there are untoward consequences, mood swings, unexpected anger. Magary's writing is honest, vivid, informative, and what really stands out is his love for his friends, his family (what a remarkable wife is Sonia), and the knowledge that this is really a life worth preserving.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Metcalf

    I felt like I'd won the lotto when offered the chance to read a complimentary review copy of The Night The Lights Went Out: A Memoir of Life After Brain Damage by Drew Magary.   You see, a few years before Drew, I too had suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  His topic resonated with me.   The below extract from the blurb had me hooked and I could not wait to get started.   In this fascinating, darkly funny comeback story, Drew takes a deep dive into what it meant to be a bystander to his own I felt like I'd won the lotto when offered the chance to read a complimentary review copy of The Night The Lights Went Out: A Memoir of Life After Brain Damage by Drew Magary.   You see, a few years before Drew, I too had suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  His topic resonated with me.   The below extract from the blurb had me hooked and I could not wait to get started.   In this fascinating, darkly funny comeback story, Drew takes a deep dive into what it meant to be a bystander to his own death and figuring out who this new Drew is: a Drew that doesn't walk as well, doesn't taste or smell or see or hear as well, and a Drew that is often failing as a husband and a father as he bounces between grumpiness, irritability, and existential fury. Eager to get back what he lost, Drew experiences an awakening of a whole other kind in this incredibly funny, medically illuminating, and heartfelt memoir. Naturally having a TBI is not a pre-requisite for enjoying this book.    I'm convinced his words will strike a chord with any reader.  If you stil have your sense of smell I'll bet you take it for granted but Magary writes in such a way you will not only understand what it's like to lose it but I guarantee you'll appreciate it all the more after reading his words.   "Smell is ethereal. Yes , in the grand scheme of things, smell is not the top dog. If you had to prioritize your five senses, smell would be dead fucking last every time, even when you factor in what it can do to your sense of taste. But when a smell hits you, it stays with you forever. Like the other four senses, smell has a direct link to your soul. If you didn't enjoy the f-bomb in that quote you may not love this book because he swears regularly.  I got the sense that pre brain damage he was a blokey bloke; a beer swilling, sports loving, party hard kinda guy.    Afterwards he was a changed man in so many ways and what he most wanted was to get back to being the same old Drew he'd always been.    Realising this was unlikely not only made him frustrated but he had anger issues to contend with.    He was brutally honest about his faults and his limitations and described himself as grumpy with his kids, gave examples of his temper flaring and hitting out in anger.  But, I was so happy toward the end of his book as he worked through his issues.      He not only accepted this new Drew was here to stay  but managed to train his brain to stop focussing on his misfortunes and losses and instead to appreciate just how lucky he was to be alive.   And he truly was lucky!!    With help and councelling he found a level of gratitude I greatly admired.   He began expressing his gratitude and love for all those who had cherished him and given their utmost to save his life, especially his wife.  Even with his macho ways there was no hiding the love and tenderness he felt for his his wife Sonia and this was so very touching.   I loved this book and congratulate the author on his honesty, and his fabulous way of expressing all he went through - even with his 120+ uses of the F word (hahah yes I did count them with the assistance of the Kindle search function).    His family and work colleagues shared their personal accounts of his trauma and Magary's words were spot on in depicting his trauma and associated emotions and physical impairments.       A terrific,  easy to read work of non-fiction. My thanks to Odette Fleming of Penguin Random House and NetGalley for the opportunity of reading this digital ARC in exchange for an honest review which it was my pleasure to provide. 4.5 stars rounded up on Goodreads

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sherri Thacker

    The Night the Lights Went Out is about Drew who made a come-back after a near fatal brain injury. It was a grueling 2 year process all during Covid too! I enjoyed this and felt every emotion there was to feel. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this early release in exchange for my honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cari

    I enjoy medical memoirs, and I have read some of Magary's work - I specifically enjoyed his novel THE POSTMORTAL. This was an interesting and bitingly funny read. Magary was hosting the Deadspin awards, had a few beers, and was about to do karaoke when he collapsed and hit his head on a concrete floor. He lost 2 weeks of his life to an induced coma where the doctors worked on repairing his brain. He was lucky to live, but dealt with brain damage, healing, and figuring out his new life. I especia I enjoy medical memoirs, and I have read some of Magary's work - I specifically enjoyed his novel THE POSTMORTAL. This was an interesting and bitingly funny read. Magary was hosting the Deadspin awards, had a few beers, and was about to do karaoke when he collapsed and hit his head on a concrete floor. He lost 2 weeks of his life to an induced coma where the doctors worked on repairing his brain. He was lucky to live, but dealt with brain damage, healing, and figuring out his new life. I especially liked reading about Magary's family, and I felt like I got to know them all in this book. Hope they're all hanging in there.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Diane Yannick

    Although I have a few more logistical complaints than indicated by 4 stars, I do not feel comfortable publicly criticizing an honest book written after a brain injury. Although my TBI was not as dramatic as Drew’s, I still have had many of the same symptoms. I know how hard it would be to put this experience into a coherent whole. So, kudos to him for fleshing out this unexpected event which challenged him yet, in the process, gave his life new meaning. The impact of the injury on others in the Although I have a few more logistical complaints than indicated by 4 stars, I do not feel comfortable publicly criticizing an honest book written after a brain injury. Although my TBI was not as dramatic as Drew’s, I still have had many of the same symptoms. I know how hard it would be to put this experience into a coherent whole. So, kudos to him for fleshing out this unexpected event which challenged him yet, in the process, gave his life new meaning. The impact of the injury on others in the family is monumental and often not fully recognized. I could feel Drew’s kids confusion as their father struggled ungracefully to regain parts of his old self. I remember being SO grumpy after being told that I would not be able to resume my career. I tried to blame others for not seeing me as capable—even though I wasn’t. Things like not being able to smell can become a tipping point into depression. He was able to gradually regain his sense of humor. This is not easy but oh so necessary. I remain a bit prickly when I sense— even unintended—condescension. As Drew navigates each new and old challenge, I wish him only the best.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Malia

    I only knew Drew Margary from his beloved Hater's Guide to the Williams Sonoma catalog posts every year, and I had known he'd suffered something traumatic around Christmas a few years ago. I was intrigued, and indeed there was a lot to appreciate in this memoir. The very beginning of the book was a bit of a hurdle for me, because I found its humor to be tired dad stuff in combination with overly-similed and slightly exaggerated comic prose that I find, like, unsustainable to read over the course I only knew Drew Margary from his beloved Hater's Guide to the Williams Sonoma catalog posts every year, and I had known he'd suffered something traumatic around Christmas a few years ago. I was intrigued, and indeed there was a lot to appreciate in this memoir. The very beginning of the book was a bit of a hurdle for me, because I found its humor to be tired dad stuff in combination with overly-similed and slightly exaggerated comic prose that I find, like, unsustainable to read over the course of an entire book. But then the actual incident of the TBI happens and everything shifts. The idea to do an oral history on your own TBI and subsequent coma is brilliant, and it's brilliantly done. Reading it is like being a fly on the wall of a hospital room bustling with medical staff and well wishers. It's emotional, it's detailed, it shows how differently people can experience the same event. But then Drew wakes from his coma and the recovery begins, and we're back in his voice. It was a very thorough account of what it's like for someone who in the end was very lucky and acknowledges that luck/privilege. It shows how confounding the brain is. What it looks like to face something you'd really rather not. And I thought the writing was really well controlled, in that it showed a new outlook developing in real time, instead of reflecting back with an already established outlook. It landed on exactly the right amount of shmoopiness for me, which is really admirable. ***Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest review.***

  10. 5 out of 5

    Matt Simpson

    WHY YOUR AUTHOR SUCKS: DREW MAGARY ... Actually Drew wrote a very compelling story about how his brain just stopped working the way it was supposed to one day and tried to kill him. I find Drew's writing style very relatable and easy to read. His prose works for all of the styles he writes in. I particularly enjoyed the anecdotes from his friends, family & doctors delivered in this book as it gave us a look into not just what he was going through but the people around him as well. I'm very glad th WHY YOUR AUTHOR SUCKS: DREW MAGARY ... Actually Drew wrote a very compelling story about how his brain just stopped working the way it was supposed to one day and tried to kill him. I find Drew's writing style very relatable and easy to read. His prose works for all of the styles he writes in. I particularly enjoyed the anecdotes from his friends, family & doctors delivered in this book as it gave us a look into not just what he was going through but the people around him as well. I'm very glad that Drew has been able to recover to some sense of normalcy, as I enjoy both his Defector articles and his books. I hope he has lots of other work in him. Also as an outsider, I can appreciate the actions that he and his former Deadspin colleagues took to stand against some bad corporate governance. He tells us a bit about that story in this book but I feel that maybe there's more to tell - maybe a book similar to this one, written with his former colleagues, about some of the life at Deadspin, its most notorious stories and its death? I'd 100% buy that, just like I plan on buying this one.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    I wish I could give this book 4.5 stars. Basically, for me, the first third is an easy five ... it's gripping, terrifying, and the "oral history" style really worked for me. It helps that I was a reader of Deadspin from three months after its founding to the day the staff walked out, so I *know* (as well as one can know someone with whom they've barely interacted but whose writing they've regularly enjoyed) a lot of the people who were at that party and are interviewed for the book. The descript I wish I could give this book 4.5 stars. Basically, for me, the first third is an easy five ... it's gripping, terrifying, and the "oral history" style really worked for me. It helps that I was a reader of Deadspin from three months after its founding to the day the staff walked out, so I *know* (as well as one can know someone with whom they've barely interacted but whose writing they've regularly enjoyed) a lot of the people who were at that party and are interviewed for the book. The descriptions of Drew's collapse, the immediate aftermath, and his time in the hospital given by the people who were actually conscious for it are powerful and touching. His wife in particular stands out as an absolute saint. The rest of the book is told mostly from Drew's perspective. There's a lot there to like! Drew's a talented writer and each chapter felt like a somewhat extended version of the articles he's been writing for years now. I enjoyed it, but for me it wasn't compelling as those initial chapters. So ... since that's about two thirds of the book, I went with four stars. But I'd recommend this to anyone. It's a fast read and a compelling one, and it often shines a spotlight on how poorly this country is equipped to deal with the needs of the disabled (newly or not).

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Brien

    This memoir was beautifully written, and well worth reading (in spite of all the swearing🙃). Drew Magary, writer, inexplicably fell down at a party, hit his head, and suffered a traumatic brain injury. This is his story of the experience and aftermath, peppered with constant dark humor and dad jokes. I love his sense of humor and laughed aloud multiple times, always wanting to read the funny bits aloud to my husband, even though he had literally just read the book the week before I did. Drew’s a This memoir was beautifully written, and well worth reading (in spite of all the swearing🙃). Drew Magary, writer, inexplicably fell down at a party, hit his head, and suffered a traumatic brain injury. This is his story of the experience and aftermath, peppered with constant dark humor and dad jokes. I love his sense of humor and laughed aloud multiple times, always wanting to read the funny bits aloud to my husband, even though he had literally just read the book the week before I did. Drew’s account is fascinating, and his reflections meaningful and heartfelt. He is brutally honest in his self-reflection, and it’s vulnerable and human in a way that made me root for him and his family. I highly recommend this, and also his fictional book, The Hike. That one still sits in my brain—it was disturbing in the best way.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    The Night The Lights Went Out By Drew Magary As a Registered Nurse specializing in Neuroscience and brain injury, when I read about this blurb I knew I had to read it. This is a medical memoir of the life of Drew Magary from his early years pre-brain injury to the time of The Collapse, and the subsequent struggles he has had recovering from his brain hemorrhage/subdural hematoma. I thought that the writing was very personal and harrowing about his experiences, and his ultimate survival and resilie The Night The Lights Went Out By Drew Magary As a Registered Nurse specializing in Neuroscience and brain injury, when I read about this blurb I knew I had to read it. This is a medical memoir of the life of Drew Magary from his early years pre-brain injury to the time of The Collapse, and the subsequent struggles he has had recovering from his brain hemorrhage/subdural hematoma. I thought that the writing was very personal and harrowing about his experiences, and his ultimate survival and resilience post Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). I thought that this was well written and a great learning for me as part of the medical community, as to how people recover and deal with the recovery and the challenges post TBI. I highly recommend this medical memoir.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ariel Pannenborg

    I do enjoy a good medical memoir that makes you appreciate what you have and normally take for granted. This book checks those boxes for sure. In addition, I simply liked getting to know Drew for the week I was reading his heartfelt experience of dealing with his trauma and acceptance of the new life he is creating. I was particularly touched when he wrote in ways that invoked the "lonely first grader" inside him. He admitted there was "something inside me that had always needed fixing"and is aw I do enjoy a good medical memoir that makes you appreciate what you have and normally take for granted. This book checks those boxes for sure. In addition, I simply liked getting to know Drew for the week I was reading his heartfelt experience of dealing with his trauma and acceptance of the new life he is creating. I was particularly touched when he wrote in ways that invoked the "lonely first grader" inside him. He admitted there was "something inside me that had always needed fixing"and is awed by the fact that others feel so lucky to have him in their life (not just him feeling lucky to have them). It's beautiful, honest and I think we can all relate and learn from him.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    So good. One of my favourite reads this year.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sharen

    Right from the author's note at the start of this book you know that Magary will be finding humour in a tough topic. This is a very in-depth look at the ramifications of a near death brain injury. Magary does not sugar coat the trauma, nor soften his actions. It is raw and honest, and at times very funny. The author starts us off with first hand comments from friends, family and medical staff after a trauma leaves him almost dead, and then takes us through the different steps to his recovery. Th Right from the author's note at the start of this book you know that Magary will be finding humour in a tough topic. This is a very in-depth look at the ramifications of a near death brain injury. Magary does not sugar coat the trauma, nor soften his actions. It is raw and honest, and at times very funny. The author starts us off with first hand comments from friends, family and medical staff after a trauma leaves him almost dead, and then takes us through the different steps to his recovery. Throughout the story you learn a lot about side effects and complications. You learn of the interconnectedness of our senses and the fragility of the entire system. Brain injuries are so difficult and recovery so varying; this book gives a good glimpse into some things that can happen for anyone loving someone going through a similar experience or experiencing this first hand. Hopefully the insights and laughs will help with a difficult situation. '...but stair lifts cost a fortune and I refused to be stair-lift years old.' 'No recovery has ever happened in a straight line." 'I couldn't fucking smell. Not even asparagus pee registered.' 'There was no need to sort out which parts of me had been affected by brain damage and which parts of me were, frankly, just always annoying.' 'I had a duty to these people to be a man worth saving, and I was derelict in that duty. I had forgotten to be grateful for what I had and to love what I loved.' Thank you to Harmony Books, Penguin Random House LLC, New York as well as NetGalley for providing me an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    I'm a big Drew Magary fan. I was an original reader of Deadspin back in the day, but stopped reading shortly after Will Leitch departed as editor (I couldn't stand AJ Daulerio, and time has proven me more than correct on that assessment). So although I was aware of a funny commenter named 'Big Daddy Drew,' it would take me a few years to get back on the Deadspin train and discover that Big Daddy Drew was now beloved Deadspin columnist Drew Magary. Since then, I've been one of his biggest fans, a I'm a big Drew Magary fan. I was an original reader of Deadspin back in the day, but stopped reading shortly after Will Leitch departed as editor (I couldn't stand AJ Daulerio, and time has proven me more than correct on that assessment). So although I was aware of a funny commenter named 'Big Daddy Drew,' it would take me a few years to get back on the Deadspin train and discover that Big Daddy Drew was now beloved Deadspin columnist Drew Magary. Since then, I've been one of his biggest fans, and while Defector is a solid website, the reason I pay $80 a year for it is for Magary's weekly columns. He's the rare content creator that is worth paying cash for, and without him, I probably wouldn't pony up the dough. So when he suffered a mysterious medical issue following the Deadspin awards in 2018, I was genuinely concerned. As it became more and more apparent that it was even more serious than we'd initially realized, I was genuinely sad. Hopeful that he would be okay, of course, frustrated by the lack of information on exactly what had happened (understandable, but frustrating nonetheless), and genuinely sad that someone who I viewed as a virtual friend might not make it. He was too young, or so I thought. I was relieved when it was revealed that he would be okay, thrilled when he began writing again, and shocked when he let his readers in on the full extent of his ordeal. This book was the closure I'd been looking for ever since. The book itself is great. Part oral history of his ordeal (since he doesn't have any memory of the night in question or the days and weeks following, his friends, family, and co-workers fill in the blanks, for him and for us), part memoir of his recovery, the book fills us in on what it was like for Drew and his family. It's powerful. I went through my own, less serious, medical issues in 2019, including loss of hearing in one ear for most of a summer, so I was actually able to viscerally understand some of what Drew was experiencing (the accident cost him his hearing in one ear, as well as partial loss of taste following his nearly month long coma). It's scary getting to middle age and realizing you're not as invulnerable as you felt in your youth. And that scariness can manifest in lots of different ways. The power of this book is the introspective journey Drew goes on, and how he comes out the other end a better man. I'm proud of him, and I'm happy to have my (virtual) friend back.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    I've never been one for medical memoirs. My general feeling of dread is large enough that I don't need to feed it imagining what would happen if my brain exploded. So you've got to write an awfully compelling medical memoir to suck me in, and Drew Magary has done just that. To be fair, I'm coming at this already as a fan of Drew. When he went silent on Deadspin and Twitter and everyone was piecing together cryptic messages that insinuated that something terrible had happened, looking for some tr I've never been one for medical memoirs. My general feeling of dread is large enough that I don't need to feed it imagining what would happen if my brain exploded. So you've got to write an awfully compelling medical memoir to suck me in, and Drew Magary has done just that. To be fair, I'm coming at this already as a fan of Drew. When he went silent on Deadspin and Twitter and everyone was piecing together cryptic messages that insinuated that something terrible had happened, looking for some truth, I was right there, refreshing and even reading the comments/replies (a low place to be). It was a great relief to see Drew's comeback, and incredible that he was able to rebound so well that he put this book together. The beginning of this book walks you through the two harrowing weeks when Drew quite easily could have died, all through the words of his family and friends. You'll hear from his co-workers, whose quick actions and insistence that he be treated both saved his life. You'll watch as Drew's wife, parents, and siblings all struggle with the idea that he may never come back, or how different he could be if he ever makes it there. When Drew takes control of the book once again, you get to experience his frustration as his senses seem to dull or disappear entirely, and the battle he endures to get them back. This could be a woe-is-me tale, or a story only about hope and perseverance, but it's a Drew Magary book, so it's funny. It shouldn't be, but it is. The Night the Lights Went Out is a story about being human, about what our loss could mean to others, and about living with disabilities. And about smelling your dog's poop on the side of the road, desperately hoping that the stench comes through. Because it is a Drew story after all.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Beth Hommes

    Drew Magary has written about the aftermath of a cerebral hemorrhage which he suffers at the after party for a Deadspin Awards event. Since Drew was in a coma for several weeks, the first quarter of the book is made up of many short observations of friends and family.For me this style met with mixed success. There was almost too much repetition of details and it was difficult to keep the people straight. When he returns home Drew has trouble with smell, taste, vision and hearing. Though his sigh Drew Magary has written about the aftermath of a cerebral hemorrhage which he suffers at the after party for a Deadspin Awards event. Since Drew was in a coma for several weeks, the first quarter of the book is made up of many short observations of friends and family.For me this style met with mixed success. There was almost too much repetition of details and it was difficult to keep the people straight. When he returns home Drew has trouble with smell, taste, vision and hearing. Though his sight improves quickly, his hearing is quite bothersome. Eventually he gets a cochlear implant. Most concerning are his anger issues for which he eventually sees a therapist. I liked parts of this book but felt some chapters got hung up on medical details like the structure of the inner ear. I appreciated Drew’s frustration at his injuries but I sometimes felt myself comparing him to someone who lost limbs or cognitive function from an accident and felt overall his issues were more manageable. I thank NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this ARC.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sara Leigh

    I enjoy Magary's writing style, so I was relieved to see his language ability intact after such a catastrophic brain injury. I liked the first part, which consisted of the memories of the people who were with him at the time of the accident and during his time in the hospital. Magary still has no memory of the event. The rest of the book is his very frank telling of his recovery from the moment he was awakened from the induced coma. He readily admits that he was not a good patient, was very angr I enjoy Magary's writing style, so I was relieved to see his language ability intact after such a catastrophic brain injury. I liked the first part, which consisted of the memories of the people who were with him at the time of the accident and during his time in the hospital. Magary still has no memory of the event. The rest of the book is his very frank telling of his recovery from the moment he was awakened from the induced coma. He readily admits that he was not a good patient, was very angry (understandable), and didn't deal with the reality of his new self for nearly a year. His humor evens things out quite a bit so you don't keep thinking, "what an asshole!", while reading. I found the sections on smell and hearing fascinating. I can't imagine not being able to smell much of anything. And I wear hearing aids (though nowhere near what he had, essentially total loss of the right ear in hearing), so I understood how devastating that could be and how amazing it is when it's restored via hearing aids and, in his case, ultimately a cochlear implant. All in all, this was an enjoyable read. The ending got a little preachy (to me), so that's why it wasn't a 5-star read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this in exchange for a review. I'm a fan of Drew Magary's writing for Defector and Deadspin, and his other books, even though his tone tends to not always be my thing. I was aware of the TBI he suffered a few years ago, and was interested to read what the process of coming back from that was like in his own words, and this did not disappoint. This does a great job of combining oral history retelling of what he knows happened in the words of frie Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this in exchange for a review. I'm a fan of Drew Magary's writing for Defector and Deadspin, and his other books, even though his tone tends to not always be my thing. I was aware of the TBI he suffered a few years ago, and was interested to read what the process of coming back from that was like in his own words, and this did not disappoint. This does a great job of combining oral history retelling of what he knows happened in the words of friends that witnessed it, then goes through the slow process of how he got back to becoming the person he is now. There's a lot of heart in this, and a few good chuckles too.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    What a humorous struggle to get back to “ordinary life” after suffering a traumatic brain injury. How lucky he was to have friends, family, and doctors all do the right thing at the right moment to not only save his life but to also ensure he was able to have the best possible quality of life after. His humor was fun but the information about memory, taste and hearing loss and the current remedies (or lack of, in some instances) was most valuable. Thanks to NetGalley and Random House/Harmony Publ What a humorous struggle to get back to “ordinary life” after suffering a traumatic brain injury. How lucky he was to have friends, family, and doctors all do the right thing at the right moment to not only save his life but to also ensure he was able to have the best possible quality of life after. His humor was fun but the information about memory, taste and hearing loss and the current remedies (or lack of, in some instances) was most valuable. Thanks to NetGalley and Random House/Harmony Publishing for the ARC to read and review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    Been a fan of Drew’s writing for a long time, and was definitely interested in learning more about the mysterious incident we all heard about but didn’t really know about. I enjoyed the book but overall definitely didn’t love it. I found the first part the most interesting - the interviews, etc - but partway through the second part of recovery I just got sort of tired. The book quite suddenly becomes overwritten and mawkish. I understand it is from a place of profound change, but it just doesn’t Been a fan of Drew’s writing for a long time, and was definitely interested in learning more about the mysterious incident we all heard about but didn’t really know about. I enjoyed the book but overall definitely didn’t love it. I found the first part the most interesting - the interviews, etc - but partway through the second part of recovery I just got sort of tired. The book quite suddenly becomes overwritten and mawkish. I understand it is from a place of profound change, but it just doesn’t ring true with the rest of the book’s voice, nor the public persona Drew still projects. Still, 4 stars rather than 3 because the parts I liked, I really liked.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    This was an enjoyable memoir. Quippy and fast paced like the rest of Magary’s writing. The subject matter is sensitive though. I wish the mentions of fentanyl were not included having just recently lost a family member to the effects of that drug. Can’t win em all. My copy was provided by NetGalley for review

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Tuite

    Reading 2021 Book 141: The Night the Lights Went Out: A Memoir of Life After Brain Damage by Drew Magary Read this via audio. Have found memoirs via audio another genre I am enjoying more and more. Drew was out for a company function one evening. He collapsed on his way to the bathroom and hit his head so hard on the concrete floor it fractured his skull in three places. The ensuing brain hemorrhage had him in a coma for more than two weeks. This is the story of the before, during, and after that Reading 2021 Book 141: The Night the Lights Went Out: A Memoir of Life After Brain Damage by Drew Magary Read this via audio. Have found memoirs via audio another genre I am enjoying more and more. Drew was out for a company function one evening. He collapsed on his way to the bathroom and hit his head so hard on the concrete floor it fractured his skull in three places. The ensuing brain hemorrhage had him in a coma for more than two weeks. This is the story of the before, during, and after that traumatic event in his life. What is it like to recover from a TBI? The book was narrated by Magary, which I find gives memoirs more life. I did not know who Drew Magary was before this book, and do not know what Defector or Deadspin are, or had ever heard of them before this book. I picked up the book from the subject matter. He had me riveted to his story almost from the opening credits, though his narration style took me a bit to get used to. The medical part of the book was informative, and all his loved ones went through during his hospitalization was heartbreaking. The brain is a very complex wonder. My rating 4⭐.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sam Leroy

    This was an enormously enjoyable read. A quick one at that, too. Like so many others, I've been an enormous fan of Drew's for years. As a hard-of-hearing person myself, I was especially touched by his journey from his injury to cochlear implants. Drew wrote so thoughtfully about the shame and isolation associated with his hearing loss. It spoke to me! Read this fucking book! This was an enormously enjoyable read. A quick one at that, too. Like so many others, I've been an enormous fan of Drew's for years. As a hard-of-hearing person myself, I was especially touched by his journey from his injury to cochlear implants. Drew wrote so thoughtfully about the shame and isolation associated with his hearing loss. It spoke to me! Read this fucking book!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joe Loncarich

    Before this, my knowledge of brain injuries ended in two ways. Miraculous recovery or death. But even in the former, there's a lot more to the story, and this does an excellent job diving into those areas where even recovery can cause a lot of complications. Despite being about brain trauma, it's an easy read that flies by. Before this, my knowledge of brain injuries ended in two ways. Miraculous recovery or death. But even in the former, there's a lot more to the story, and this does an excellent job diving into those areas where even recovery can cause a lot of complications. Despite being about brain trauma, it's an easy read that flies by.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Flora

    As one would expect from a popular and professional writer like Drew Magary, this is a very well written book. For the most part, I couldn’t put it down. Among other things, I liked the humour, I liked the interview style perspectives from people around him and I liked how he described his relationship with his friends and family. I did not quite enjoy the chapters chronicling in detail the medical conditions, causes and treatments for his hearing issues etc and skipped many paragraphs. But I’m As one would expect from a popular and professional writer like Drew Magary, this is a very well written book. For the most part, I couldn’t put it down. Among other things, I liked the humour, I liked the interview style perspectives from people around him and I liked how he described his relationship with his friends and family. I did not quite enjoy the chapters chronicling in detail the medical conditions, causes and treatments for his hearing issues etc and skipped many paragraphs. But I’m pretty sure people with similar health issues would find them helpful and informative. All in all, really worth a read, especially for people who’ve suffered brain damage like he did, people who are fans of his and generally people who like a well written memoir. Content alert: Some rough language

  29. 5 out of 5

    Trace Nichols

    What a crazy, personal story about traumatic brain injury!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dylan Lysen

    There’s a passage in this book that brought me to tears — in a good way. I’m not going to share it but I do recommend this book to anyone and I hope you get they same out of it.

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