A Stitch of Time: The Year a Brain Injury Changed My Language and Life
(Simon & Schuster, May 2017)
In the bestselling tradition of Brain on Fire and A Stroke of Insight, an incredible first-person account of one woman’s journey to regaining her language and identity after a brain aneurysm affects her ability to communicate.
Lauren Marks was twenty-seven, singing karaoke with a friend, when an aneurysm ruptured in her brain. She woke up in a hospital with serious deficiencies to her reading, speaking, and writing abilities, and a diagnosis: aphasia. Shocking news to anyone, but for Lauren it was devastating. As an actress, writer, and voracious reader, her entire identity was crafted upon a language that her brain now couldn’t access. Forced to give up her independence, Lauren returned to her parents’ home to struggle with a stifled inner monologue, fractured sense of self, and a broken memory.
At the urging of her speech therapist and encouragement of her parents, Lauren began to chronicle her recovery. A Stitch of Time is the remarkable result, the story of a brain slowly piecing together a forgotten language—an Oliver Sacks-like case study, but written by the patient herself. With clinical research about aphasia and linguistics interwoven with deeply personal journal entries marking her progress, Lauren affords a rare glimpse into a mind in construction. Over time, frustration leads to fascination as Lauren re-learns and re-experiences many of the things we take for granted—reading a book, understanding idioms, even sharing a first kiss.
A story about language and identity, A Stitch in Time presents an unforgettable journey of self-discovery, resilience, and hope. As Lauren navigates the ups and downs of her year post-rupture and tries to reconcile “The Girl I Used to Be” with “The Girl I Am Now,” she finds herself as she finds her words.
Praise for A Stitch of Time:
“Engrossing…Marks provides a story of hope.”
“A Stitch of Time is fascinating reading for those who want to learn how language works.”
—Dr. Temple Grandin, author of The Autistic Brain and Thinking in Pictures
“In this sometimes harrowing, sometimes funny, and always very human memoir, Lauren Marks brings us through the year an aneurysm ruptured in her brain leaving her with aphasia. How the loss and return of language changed her is a remarkable journey that she shares with intelligence and grace. A Stitch of Time will leave you hopeful and dazzled and grateful that Marks found words again and shared them us here.”
—Ann Hood, author of The Book That Matters Most and The Obituary Writer
“As an avid reader of neurologist Oliver Sacks, I’ve long been intrigued about the mysterious connections between the brain, the mind, and the imagination. But where Sacks writes about what his patients experience, we now get to hear directly from a patient. What a delight to read Lauren Marks’ A Stitch of Time! Her writing is so good and her story so compelling. I devoured the book in a single night.”
—Sidney D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times best-selling author of A Cast of Killers and Edgar Cayce
“Marks is a gorgeous writer and her story of healing is moving, informative but above all a great read. . . I could not put this book down.”
—Heidi W. Durrow, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
“There has been over a century of research on Broca’s aphasia but few accounts of patients’ own experiences as they struggle to recover. A Stitch of Time is a striking exception – it’s a thoughtful, introspective memoir that allows us to catch a rare glimpse of the inner mental life of such patients.”
—Dr. V.S. Ramachandran, author of The Tell-Tale Brain
Watch Lauren Marks’s interview on TODAY with Maria Shriver
Review of A Stitch of Time in Publishers Weekly
Read the Washington Post‘s profile of Lauren Marks and A Stitch of Time
Listen to Lauren Marks in conversation with Michael Antonia of THEFLASHDANCE
Lauren Marks is a Los Angeles native and a New York University, Tisch School of the Arts graduate. She spent a decade in professional theater and pursued a PhD at The Graduate Center at City University of New York. When she was twenty-seven, she suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm and documented her recovery through journals and writing. Her work has appeared in Brain World, Fresh Yarn, and the Huffington Post. She has been awarded grants from the Bread Loaf Writing Conference, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, VCCA France, Ragdale, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Yaddo. In London, she has been an active advocate for those who live with language disorders like aphasia. A Stitch of Time is her first book.