Where Is the Mango Princess? Hardcover – Sep 19 2000
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"Alan's brain got run over by a speedboat," Cathy Crimmins writes. "That last sentence reads like a bad country-western song lyric, but it's true. It was a silly, horrible, stupid accident." And so begins the harrowing tale of a family vacation gone awry when a speedboat collides with her husband's small craft, changing their lives forever. Crimmins (The Seven Habits of Highly Defective People and When My Parents Were My Age They Were Old... or Who Are You Calling Middle-Aged?) is used to writing with wit, self-effacing humor, and a warmth that can bring readers to their knees--or at least to tears of laughter. But in this stunning memoir about her husband's brain injury and the subsequent fallout, Crimmins has outdone herself, bringing all her sharply honed narrative skills into play as she tackles the life-wrenching drama of witnessing her husband's near death and ensuing rebirth as a very different person.
Crimmins takes readers inside the drama with all the right details and interior feelings to keep us fully mesmerized: her 7-year-old daughter's ashen face, her husband's twitching body, the paramedic's alarming question, "Is your husband one of these people that ordinarily has large pupils?" As deftly as she takes readers inside this personal story of not-quite recovery--more like discovery--she is also able to pan back and show readers the comedic silver lining (the self-important doctors, the moments of mishaps, and of course, the whereabouts of the mysterious Mango Princess) that lies within the cloud of her family's tragedy. Anyone who has endured a head trauma or loved someone who has will be engrossed by this wise and knowledgeable storyteller. The rest of us will have a captivating lesson about the rejuvenation of the brain as well as the human heart. --Gail Hudson
From Publishers Weekly
Although it was frightening when Crimmins's husband, Alan, an attorney, suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) while on a family vacation, it was his long-term rehabilitation that proved most daunting, for brain injuries can cause significant personality changes. This chronicle of Al's injury, treatment and rehabilitation shows how perplexing and stressful traumatic brain injury can be for both victim and family. Crimmins (When My Parents Were My Age, They Were Old and Newt Gingrich's Bedtime Stories for Orphans) knows how to tell a story for maximum effect, filling this account with funny and outrageous anecdotes, raw emotion and predictable rage toward HMOs that won't fund optimal treatment. Like many TBI patients, Al became bizarrely uninhibited; Crimmins describes how he swears profusely and masturbates in public, and her worries about suddenly being married to a stranger: "I once had a husband who was doing a dissertation on Samuel Beckett, who had a thing for obscure Japanese cinema.... I can't imagine being married to a man who won't be able to discuss books or go to the theater with me." Despite Alan's extraordinarily good recovery, Crimmins muses, "I miss his dark side.... Now I wince as he chortles over mediocre cartoons... with TBI he has become what he wasn't before, a regular, uncomplicated guy." Though this story is an eye-opener on some levels, it remains essentially shallow. More information on neurological research would have been welcome, and attention to the experience of other TBI families (to which Crimmins devotes only three paragraphs) would have added the perspective that this self-centered account lacks. Agent, Kim Witherspoon.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
This book has been incredibly helpful. It contains a lot of priceless information, information you CAN understand, complementing it with loads of personal experiences.
Thanks to the very easy language (it can be read as a novel) it has allowed everyone in my family to understand and accept the choices and changes we wnet though and are still going through with a TBI survivor. It has also helped us understand and help Mickey in his recovery process.
I have cried and laughed on endless nights with this book.
I have underlined passages and read them over and over (something I dont do very often)
I have shared this book with the rest of my family, friends, Mickeys friends and caregivers and even some doctors....
Thank you Cathy Crimmins for helping US stay confident, focused, and happy....
This book opened my eyes and warmed my heart.
To anyone going through this terrible ordeal... there IS HOPE at the end. Dont despair!
Cathy's book reminded me once again that we are not alone - I dove into the research just like Cathy (the knowledge & my understanding of it was my life jacket. Our children, our reason for not giving up) Her messages are our messages - I hear my voice in her written word. There were moments when I had to put the book down as it saddened me to remember how painful those days, weeks, months were. How the fear and frustration made us feel physically and emotionally spent. And there were many passages where I laughed with her! I'm writing to say - we too survived! It's not easy, and it never, ever ends. It's about courage, love and support. It's about our new little family sticking together despite the challenges and now we look back and talk about some of our dimmest moments & smile. (Cathy's dedication to Al says it all for me - "to the past, present and future") Read the book - take the journey - you are not alone. Cathy, thank you.
I loved this book and could barely put it down.
Alan's new personality struck so many chords with me -- my brother was diagnosed in his early teens as having paranoid schizophrenia, and he and Alan display similar characteristics, even though their maladies are profoundly different. My brother isn't brain damaged, he was "born that way." I don't remember him being vastly different from what he was before, so my family doesn't have memories of "normal" to fall back on. I honestly can't say whether that would be easier or worse for us, so I can understand why this issue is so bittersweet for Crimmins. My brother exhibits a tremendous capacity for warmth, pride and giving (like Alan, he picks up on what interests you and carries it through to the extreme. A good example is, he knows I like music so he spent his entire disability check on a 300-disc cd player that I don't really need but wouldn't ever say as much. When I was promoted to a new position at my old music label job, he told everyone I was president of the company.) He also has stormy outbursts of temper where everything is someone else's fault (which, all these years later, is a family joke of sorts -- "YOU did it!" or "the DOG did it!") Tiny things send him into a rage, and moments later he is like a young child, apologetic and thoughtful.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Heartwrenching, insightful, and hilarious. Would recommend especially to any healthcare professional in acute care, rehab, or community.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
My heart is sore,,,,,,,I just finished reading this book for the second time. My lifetime partner had a brain aneurysm 18 months ago. Our world was turned upside down. Read morePublished on Feb. 28 2010 by Susan M. Davis
Recently my mother suffered a severe brain anuerism and stroke. She was unconscious for over a week and spent 27 days in the SCU. Read morePublished on Nov. 16 2003
Julianna Margulies will be in a new movie Where is the Mango Princess son on TNT! WATCH IT!Published on Sept. 20 2003 by jules
My son recently suffered a brain injury. This book helped me more than anything else that I have read. It also made me laugh and cry. Read morePublished on March 30 2003
Cathy Crimmins partner researched medical libraries to provide factual details within the context of this entertaining and cohesive account of a chaotic and painful... Read morePublished on July 1 2002
With wit and humor, this book provides a horribly accurate depiction of a TBI and its aftermath, as well as a surprising amount of insight into the functioning of both healthy and... Read morePublished on Nov. 12 2001 by Anise
There is much literature on the diseased and disabled and their caretakers, full of raw emotion and excruciating pathos. Read morePublished on Oct. 30 2001 by Stephen Richmond
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