A memoir of reinvention after a stroke at thirty-three, based on the author's viral Buzzfeed essay
Christine Hyung-Oak Lee woke up with a headache on New Year's Eve 2006. By that afternoon, she saw the world-quite literally-upside down. By New Year's Day, she was unable to form a coherent sentence. And after hours in the ER, days in the hospital, and multiple questions and tests, she learned that she had had a stroke. For months, Lee outsourced her memories to her notebook. It is from these memories that she has constructed this frank and compelling memoir.
In a precise and captivating narrative, Lee navigates fearlessly between chronologies, weaving her childhood humiliations and joys together with the story of the early days of her marriage; and then later, in painstaking, painful, and unflinching detail, her stroke and every upset, temporary or permanent, that it causes.
Lee processes her stroke and illuminates the connection between memory and identity in an honest, meditative, and truly funny manner, utterly devoid of self-pity. And as she recovers, she begins to realize that this unexpected and devastating event provides a catalyst for coming to terms with her true self.
Christine Hyung-Oak Lee is a writer who lives in Berkeley, California. Born in New York City, Christine earned her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley and her M.F.A. at Mills College. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in the New York Times and on BuzzFeed and the Rumpus, among other publications. She has been awarded a Hedgebrook residency, and her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.