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The Day My Brain Exploded

A True Story

Algonquin Books


"...a hopeful book about what life is really like for a twentysomething who falls down a rabbit hole but doesn't end up in Wonderland. Instead, he finds a nightmare that won't end without the strength of character that he never knew he had.”


"Extraordinary...very personal."

CBS Radio


"Rajamani's account is personal, inspiring, terrifying, and funny.  This is a courageous memoir."

-The Times of India


"Who are you?" said the Caterpillar.

This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, "I--I hardly know, Sir, just at the present-- at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then."

--Lewis Carroll,

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland


After a full-throttle brain bleed at the age of twenty-five, Ashok Rajamani, a first-generation Indian American, had to relearn everything: how to eat, how to walk and to speak, even things as basic as his sexual orientation. With humor and insight, he describes the events of that day (his brain exploded just before his brother’s wedding!), as well as the long, difficult recovery period. In the process, he introduces readers to his family—his principal support group, as well as a constant source of frustration and amazement. Irreverent, coruscating, angry, at times shocking, but always revelatory, his memoir takes the reader into unfamiliar territory, much like the experience Alice had when she fell down the rabbit hole. That he lived to tell the story is miraculous; that he tells it with such aplomb is simply remarkable. More than a decade later he has finally reestablished a productive artistic life for himself, still dealing with the effects of his injury—life-long half-blindness and epilepsy— but forging ahead as a survivor dedicated to helping others who have suffered a similar catastrophe.

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-Barnes & Noble



"First-time author Rajamani delivers a fascinating look at his life and his recovery as a brain-injury patient that is both heartbreaking and uplifting."

-Publisher’s Weekly



In this frank and witty account of his own brain "explosion," Rajamani describes in vivid detail the circumstances leading to the injury, and its devastating aftermath on both his family and himself, including chronic epilepsy and a freak form of blindness affecting the left side of each eye. With disarming drollery, the author also recounts his racism-tainted upbringing as an Indian American in white-dominated Suburban Chicago. Shedding much-needed light on a little-known medical trauma, Rajamani's sharp-edged prose is both informative and inspiring, especially for the many marginalized sufferers of brain injury and those close to him."



"A fierce, funny, fascinating memoir of a man's battle back from a brain injury that damaged his body but resurrected his spirit and themeaning of his life."

--Wade Rouse,

Author of "At Least in the city Someone Could Hear Me Scream"


"...good-humored and self-deprecating... deals with his drama elegantly."
-Harper’s Magazine


"A pretty wild book."


“With piercing prose, Rajamani beautifully captures an experience unknown to most. He reminds us that the body is remarkably adaptable and that new values surface after physical changes occur. The Day My Brain Exploded will take you to new places within yourself—it will leave a lasting imprint in your consciousness."
-Belo Miguel Cipriani,
author of "Blind: A Memoir"

"The story unfolds like a flower blooming. Powerful, hardcore honesty, and humor all make this a book I would recommend to anyone... thanks to Ashok for opening up and sharing so honestly. Shocking, amazing, powerful -- it makes for a superb book."
--Melinda Gustafson Gervasi, author of "Illness, Death, and Taxes for the Middle Class"

“The Day My Brain Exploded is a memoir of epistemology. Ashok Rajamani shares how a man rebuilds a life of the mind. His prose is at once witty and probing, persistent and clear. If the brain could write an autobiography this would be it."
-- Stephen Kuusisto,
Author of "Planet of the Blind"


"Brilliant and Engaging. Perfect sarcastic humor... 
a hilarious, irreverent, fascinating Holden Caulfield-esque story of a 25-year-old 'brain-damaged, Indian American redneck.'"

-School Library Journal

"A uniquely humor-filled memoir."
--Open City Magazine


"Rajamani takes you through your own gamut of emotions as you share his story of the event and the therapy and recovery which is continual. You cry. You laugh. You feel pity, sympathy and empathy.
What a diary to be able to read."

--Rebecca Holland,
Author of "From the Nightstand"






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