Three years after suffering a traumatic brain injury, Katie L. Patterson has written a book about her experiences. Her memoir is two-parts narration and snippets of communications with others (emails, etc.) and one part information about traumatic brain injury from numerous medical web sites.
The first 62 pages of My Invisible Injury are a mix of Patteron’s summary of events, entries from her family’s blog and emails and the author’s sunny thoughts: “God does have a plan; sometimes we question why such terrible things happen to such wonderful people. But it is all in His plan!” Another one: “Who would have ever thought that when life lands you lemons your [sic] make a strong glass of lemonade.”
Readers are introduced to Katie with a brief description of her accident, the result of an impromptu longboarding attempt down a steep driveway at the age of 20. She describes much of her story, before and after the accident, with a string of “amazing!” comments, such as: “being in college was amazing!”; “It’s amazing: the wonderful nurses, physical therapists, and staff…” Other people also blog that “KT is amazing!”
Memoirs demand a fine attention to detail and character development. Here, readers don’t know much about Katie, except for the updates from her mother’s email postings. When she does attempt to describe how she feels, she falls back into the trap of hollow superlatives. When she watched other disabled people play wheelchair rugby, “it was phenomenal!” When she began lifting weights, she “was ecstatic!”
According to Patterson, traumatic brain injury affects 1.4 million people each year in the United States. It is a life-altering experience. In My Invisible Injury, Patterson makes a valiant attempt to describe her long recovery. Although its lack of details will likely detract general readers, one hopes the process of writing this book was a cathartic act that helped her on her journey.
Also available as an ebook.