Kirkus Reviews Reviewed Concussion Is Brain Injury

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As I entered the creative halls of NaNoWriMo, Kirkus Reviews shot me an email saying the review on Concussion Is Brain Injury is done. Nervously, I clicked the link and read:

“A brush with a life-threatening accident spurs a writer to investigate the “hidden epidemic” of debilitating brain trauma.”

Nice first line! I like that they identify me as a writer. When I wrote my first book Lifeliner, people enthusiastically received it — as a one off. The idea that I would write more books seemed . . . well, foreign. But I now have several under my belt, and a mainstay of the publishing industry recognizes me as a writer. Cool!

“In this revised version of her original 2012 publication, Canadian novelist and biographer Jeejeebhoy (Aban’s Accension, 2013, etc.) enhances the text with expanded personal detail, creating an immersive, multifaceted memoir.”

I noticed they chose the second novel I wrote as the one to name. I wondered why, then remembered that was the last one I published in paperback. Makes sense. The etc. is weird but OK. I mean, the number of words is limited; better to have the words go into the review then listing all my books!

I read on and came to —

“The author painfully describes the toll that her injuries took on her relationship with her husband, Mistral; her panic at losing the ability to read; and other cognitive impairments.”

I was temporarily confused over the name. Memory kicked in. Oh yeah, I gave everyone pseudonyms and, as usual, had fun with names when I did.

“Desperate to return to her normal life, she became intensely motivated to find a reason and resolution for her injury through determined research and treatment alternatives.”

Yup, they got that right. I was desperate. Very desperate.

“She’s uniformly candid when writing about a year of devastating setbacks, which she says felt like “a massive plough that trenches through your established networks.””

It’s been seventeen years, almost eighteen (gulp), since I was the person who would never have been this candid. Even this year, as I wrote these scenes, I wondered about it. It’s one thing to write it; another to put it out there. But it’s done, and I just hope that it makes a good difference in other people’s lives.

“Toward the end of the book, she delves even deeper into the scientific neuropathological data of her treatment plan and further developments of her “labyrinthine recovery.””

Another memory hiccup and then, oh yeah, based on everything I learnt, I put forth a theoretical treatment program for brain injury, since rest and strategies aren’t treatment, and a reading rehab program that would do more than make people settle for the new-normal of crappy, effort-full reading; it would hopefully restore a significant amount of reading skill.

I got to the final summing up and read it, holding my breath.

“Perhaps overly expository for casual readers, but the intricate details of the author’s experience are riveting and enlightening.”

OK, OK, first part maybe a little bit of a downer, but the main point — wow! Reading that was an upper. My mother was very very pleased!!

Read the entire review of Concussion Is Brain Injury: Treating the Neurons and Me on the Kirkus Reviews website here. Or just go straight to Amazon and purchase it!

And if you would like to support my writing, please consider becoming a patron. I’m on Patreon, the website that lets ordinary people do the extraordinary action of supporting the artists that they love.


Another Review!

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I found this novel very difficult to put down.”

Another review of my novel She has hit the web! ReaderViews, an American company that specializes in book reviews, just published a review of She on their website.

Their reviewer Paige Lovitt wrote:

“What if you are traveling down a dark road one night and suddenly a gust of wind tremendously impacts your car, and all of a sudden your life as you have known it and loved it is over? What if you feel like your body is suddenly weak, in constant pain, and you have difficulties remembering anything? What if you career as a songwriter is instantaneously ended because the music has died within you?  How tragic it would be to have your fiancé and friends leave you because they believe you are faking your symptoms and don’t believe the truth about your condition.  What is the condition? While the symptoms sound like something that would be caused by a traumatic brain injury and depression, there is no disease. Instead there is a possession by an entity known to a few as Akaesman.

Akaesman seeks out individuals to inhabit and control. He feeds off of their life energy. For some people, he just invades them for a brief period of time, like for one week. For others such as the woman in this story, he inhabits her body for almost seven years.  Having lost almost everyone dear to her, except her beloved cat, this woman must fight to evict Akaesman.  Desperately fighting constant malaise and confusion, she searches outside of herself for others who understand this possession and for those who know how to treat it.  Discovering that there are a few doctors, lawyers and a Shadow Court designed to deal with this entity helps her know that this is for real.  Having friends and other professionals scoff at her diagnosis weakens her and strengthens him.

She has to do everything she can to fight from giving in to the weakness that invades her.  Trying out different medical strategies helps to some degree, but within the darkness that she finds within there is also a light. In this light is a higher being whose light becomes brighter as she seeks out spiritual help, and therapies based upon illumination.  Growing spiritually she becomes stronger, and she also seems to be led to the right people who can help her.  Shedding herself of this being also sheds much of who she used to be, but in some ways now she is a better person, because she is a survivor.  The real test will come when she knows that her music has returned.

“She” is an incredibly well written novel that made me feel like I had stepped into the main character’s shoes and was able to physically feel her struggling to survive.  Because of this, I found this novel very difficult to put down. I felt like if I put it down, then I wasn’t helping her to recover.  So I had to keep reading!  There were also times were I found myself covered in goose bumps.  Because of the intensity of her condition, it seemed so real.  The thought of having an unwelcome entity take over your body and your life is terrifying!  It is those fears and the emotional rollercoaster that this novel takes you on that makes it such a wonderful book to read.”

If you’ve read She, may I invite you to post your own review, a sentence or five, at Amazon or the website of the store you bought it at? Thanks so much!


WD Judge of Self-Published Book Awards Comments on Lifeliner

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Almost a year ago, I submitted Lifeliner to the 16th Annual Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Awards. I recently heard from them, much to my surprise. Unfortunately, my book “was not among the winners.” That’s a nice way to put it; they gave me a participation certificate. The winners will not be announced publicly until April 2009.

I finished reading the letter, my stomach leaden, my eyes glazing over “competition was particularly fierce this year” and flipped the pages to the enclosed commentary. I figured the judge hadn’t liked it much, but, again, WD (Writer’s Digest) surprised me, for Judge #51 rated it highly in the Life Stories category. I guess competition was fierce!

The commentary begins with a summary:

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “poor” and 5 meaning “excellent,” please evaluate the following:

Structure and organization: 5 [Greg and Ian, take a bow for helping me on that]

Grammar: 4 [Amazing since my injury had shot much of it out of my head, but the iUniverse editors did good work.]

Cover design: 4 [That was courtesy of the cover designer at iUniverse; I was having 2nd thoughts about the cover.]

WD asks the judge to write essay answers to two questions. First one: What did you like best about this book?

S/he began: The author is clearly intelligent and well spoken. [All that exhausting, endless brain rehab work was worth it!] She has a strong command of the written word. She tells a compelling and all but unheard of story — the story of Judy Taylor, the first person to be treated with a long-term inrtavenous feeding tube — or what is now known as TPN, total parenteral nutrition. [It is unheard of in lay circles and pretty dramatic too, so why is the Canadian media yawning over it? They probably think it’s fiction and nothing like that could happen here.]

S/he says further down the page: I especially enjoy how she wove in her own emotions and experiences and her relationship with Judy. [Kudos to Greg for suggesting first-person!] I was also impressed by the extensive research and old-school investigation techniques she employed. [All done pre-injury, and why is it old-school anyway? Shouldn’t this kind of work be standard for authors and journalists of non-fiction? Still, I’m doing a little happy waggle at this compliment.] She didn’t only rely on her memory [good thing!] of her father and Judy, but rather she interviewed countless people (and taped the interviews) over a stretch of 9 years, and thoroughly investigated newspaper reports and medical reports. She also annotated every subject of whom she interviewed and explained his or her qualifications to report on Judy. [That’s all together at the back of the book so as to not interrupt the flow of the story. And boy did it take me forever to get it done.] … The cover itself is remarkably professional for a self-pub. [Kudos to the iUniverse cover designer. That was the bonus I got from having Lifeliner declared Editor’s Choice.]

Now comes the good part. How did my book suck?! Or as WD puts it, How can the author improve this book?

In two words — title and foreword.

The title is too vague: Lifeliner does not specifically address the issue of intravenous feeding tubes. [I thought it did, or rather the people who live on TPN, starting with Judy, but what do I know, eh?]

But s/he asks me a good question: what sets this book from the lot of other survival tales (of which there seem to be no limit). [Get the feeling this judge was getting a tad bored with survival tales?]

S/he goes on to say that the subtitle “needs to be more specific.” I agree with that part. Perhaps “the woman who could not eat”?

As for the Foreword, s/he would remove it and writes: It was far too wordy and filled with medical jargon to hook anyone in.

Well, as a reader I rarely read Forewords first. And, except for the odd, magnificently written one, I don’t find any influencing me on whether or not to pick up a book. I usually rely on the back cover copy, the plot, and the writing to make that decision. I’ve given up on covers because so many seem to be on a totally different subject from what the book is about. Prof. Wretlind was very kind and supportive of me and this project, and so for that reason alone, I won’t remove it.

I still don’t know how to respond to this. On the one hand, I feel like I missed an honourable mention, if not a prize, by a hair. On the other hand, I feel flattered that a professional in the writing business regards my book and my work this highly. In time, I’m sure, the former feeling will fade, and the latter will stay.


Another Good Review!

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I’m starting to feel like a critically acclaimed movie: lots of good words, not the commensurate number of sales. Still, the review of Lifeliner I just stumbled across was a real upper.

When I searched for “jeejeebhoy” on, I did a double take when I saw next to the title of my book “4 reviews.” Four? Didn’t I have three? I clicked on the “Customer Reviews” link and first noticed that at least one person had found Gloria Oren’s review helpful. That was new. Gloria had reviewed Lifeliner back in February and had awarded it 5 stars. Then I scrolled down and discovered that there really was a new review of my book, posted just two days ago on May 24th.

Diana Rohini LaVigne, Online Editor of Indian Life & Style Magazine and India-West Magazine and the South Asian Journalists Association Bay Area Chapter Coordinator, had succinctly and kindly reviewed my book on Saturday, giving it 4 stars. Cool! She’d summarized Lifeliner and commented briefly on the kind of research I’d done, then wrote:

“Arranged in chronological order, readers are taken on the journey with Judy; experiencing her triumphs and her challenges. Reading it will make you laugh, smile, cringe, cry and most importantly, think.”

Wow! But her last paragraph really blew me away:

“Once you finish the book, you will take stock of your own health and that of your family’s. If you want inspiration, Lifeliner has no shortage packed into its pages. An excellent book to read and pass along to anyone from those interested in true stories, medical history and those interested in anything to do with health. Lifeliner isn’t just a book, but a voyage about TPN, living with adversity and the power of human will.”


Lifeliner on Midwest Book Review’s Bookwatch

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The Midwest Book Review was established in 1976 and “publishes several monthly publications for community and academic library systems in California, Wisconsin, and the upper Midwest.” Among those publications is MBR Bookwatch, and you won’t believe whose book ended up in the March 2008 issue? You got it: mine!

“The MBR Bookwatch is a monthly online book review publication that will showcase the reviews and commentaries of those Midwest Book Review editors and specialized reviewers who have demonstrated expertise and mastery of their particular fields, responsibilities, and interests. The MBR Bookwatch will also feature author interviews, as well editorial observations of various aspects of publishing world, by knowledgeable and articulate participants.”

I got a letter from iUniverse the other day. It’s rare to receive snail mail from them, never mind addressed in hand writing rather than typed, so I was puzzled. Inside there was no covering letter, just the original review on MBR’s letterhead. I surfed to their site, clicked on MBR Bookwatch, clicked on March 2008, then on Reader Views Bookshelf, scrolled down endlessly, and there it was. The review of my book by Paige Lovitt. Cool!


A Good Review

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Lifeliner recently garnered praise in a review by Ernest Dempsey. First posted on Babelation, the review appears on Book Corner, along with links to my book trailer and website. Dempsey starts his review,

“One thing a good inspirational book achieves is making its readers realize the worth of life and the state of living just in normal good health-something we often take for granted.”

Now that’s an awesome beginning. He ends it well by saying,

Lifeliner is for all audiences, and especially a must read for people whose lives have been touched by serious illness. This book will give them hope and courage, helping them to appreciate life better.”

I’ve excerpted my favourite part on the Reviews page. Thank you Mr. Dempsey!