The Brand New Catastrophe

The Brand New Catastrophe

Raucous family memoir meets medical adventure in this heartfelt, hilarious book exploring the public and private theaters of illness. After a tumor bursts in Mike Scalise’s brain, leaving him with a hole in the head and malfunctioning hormones, he must navigate a new, alien world of illness maintenance. His mother, who has a chronic heart condition and a flair for drama, b...

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Title:The Brand New Catastrophe
Author:Mike Scalise
Rating:
ISBN:1941411339
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:260 pages

The Brand New Catastrophe Reviews

  • Erika Dreifus
    Nov 27, 2016

    Terrific read. Check out this Q&A with the author:

    .

  • Miranda Tsang
    Aug 01, 2016

    So good. So funny, too!

  • Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
    Dec 16, 2016

    I had the pleasure of reading an early copy of this book-- and it is somehow funny, heart-rending, and oh-so-true all at the same time. Scalise's memoir isn't just a story about a medical catastrophe, it's a story about how we make stories out of all our catastrophes, and how we understand the over-the-top things that happen to us. (Plus family. It's also about how we understand family.) How can a memoir about a brain tumor be funny? Honestly, I don't know how he did it-- but it IS funny, and so

    I had the pleasure of reading an early copy of this book-- and it is somehow funny, heart-rending, and oh-so-true all at the same time. Scalise's memoir isn't just a story about a medical catastrophe, it's a story about how we make stories out of all our catastrophes, and how we understand the over-the-top things that happen to us. (Plus family. It's also about how we understand family.) How can a memoir about a brain tumor be funny? Honestly, I don't know how he did it-- but it IS funny, and somehow also teaches us about being human; living in our dangerously mortal bodies; and adapting to the way life changes our very ideas of who we are. Also, the sentences are stunningly intricate and wry and very, very smart.

    Buy this book. You will have a damn good time reading it.

  • (a)lyss(a)
    Feb 10, 2017

    "I told her, and here I was, some guy, approaching them in public, around people with eyes, not just telling them what they've already known and have been taking pills or getting shots to combat, but worse: confirming for that person - who may or may not have spent the same amount of time inspecting themselves as I had, wondering how frightfully their features were regarded by the many, many eyes that fell upon them - that, above all, they

    ."

    I really wanted to like this book, b

    "I told her, and here I was, some guy, approaching them in public, around people with eyes, not just telling them what they've already known and have been taking pills or getting shots to combat, but worse: confirming for that person - who may or may not have spent the same amount of time inspecting themselves as I had, wondering how frightfully their features were regarded by the many, many eyes that fell upon them - that, above all, they

    ."

    I really wanted to like this book, but I think the humor just wasn't for me.

    It seemed less like morbid humor and more like sarcasm and stark that by the time I was halfway through the book I was tired of. The story is interesting, but it also jumps around a bit from the author's tumor, to his mother's hospital stay, his recovery, and life pre-diagnosis. The author is pretty self aware about how he talks about his tumor and how it changes him, but the story didn't resonate with me like I expected.

  • Vincent Scarpa
    Jan 21, 2017

    (Review forthcoming, but: Mike Scalise is hysterical, brilliant, and an indefatigable quester.)

  • Arna Hemenway
    Jan 30, 2017

    If you're not usually a memoir person, but you've dreamed of having a funny, articulate, honest, and insightful friend telling you a story of their experience, this book is a pleasure. If you are a memoir person, this book is also just fantastic and original. Would recommend on audiobook too.

  • Adele Stratton
    Feb 19, 2017

    2.5 stars. Normally I enjoy memoirs narrated by the author, but I struggled with the narration of this one and think I might have liked it a little better in book form.

  • Wendy Wakeman
    Feb 19, 2017

    Funny and full of heart. I heard the author interviewed on James Scott's TK Podcast and picked up a copy at the AWP bookfair. Scalise's memoir of a pituitary tumor and its rupture kept me pinned to the coach most of all of this beautiful Sunday.

  • 17th Century Eco J
    Feb 19, 2017

    Mike's writing has always been a marvel to me RE: the play between humor and wickedly smart, unpretentious insight. This passage crushed me:

    "I wondered if he was thinking what I was, even as I was ashamed to be thinking it. I wondered if he was considering, as I now did, that perhaps he and my mother's true apex of aptitude was merely to have dreams, but not to live them."

  • Esther Bradley-detally
    Feb 20, 2017

    I adored this book; galoopy, bright, funny, dear, scary situation; a celebration of quirkiness; buoyant pathos, a favorite phrase of mine, because that's how a friend described my writing. Superbly done; kudos to the author; may he always be safe and happy, family too