A fascinating, darkly funny comeback story of learning to live with a broken mind after a near-fatal traumatic brain injury—from the acclaimed author of The Hike
“Drew Magary has produced a remarkable account of his journey, one that is filled with terror, tenderness, beauty, and grace.”—David Grann, bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon
Drew Magary, fan-favorite Defector and former Deadspin columnist, is known for his acerbic takes and his surprisingly nuanced chronicling of his own life. But in The Night the Lights Went Out, he finds himself far out of his depths. On the night of the 2018 Deadspin Awards, he suffered a mysterious fall that caused him to smash his head so hard on a cement floor that he cracked his skull in three places and suffered a catastrophic brain hemorrhage. For two weeks, he remained in a coma. The world was gone to him, and him to it.
In his long recovery from his injury, including understanding what his family and friends went through as he lay there dying, coming to terms with his now permanent disabilities, and trying to find some lesson in this cosmic accident, he leaned on the one sure thing that he knows and that didn't leave him—his writing.
Drew takes a deep dive into what it meant to be a bystander to his own death and figuring out who this new Drew is: a Drew that doesn't walk as well, doesn't taste or smell or see or hear as well, and a Drew that is often failing as a husband and a father as he bounces between grumpiness, irritability, and existential fury. But what's a good comeback story without heartbreak? Eager to get back what he lost, Drew experiences an awakening of a whole other kind in this incredibly funny, medically illuminating, and heartfelt memoir.
Former Deadspin writer Magary (The Hike) delivers a thrilling account of the harrowing near-death experience that changed his life. In December 2018, after hosting the Deadspin Awards in New York City, Magary had an inexplicable fainting spell that fractured the temporal bone in his skull, causing him to need life-saving brain surgery and to be placed in a medically induced coma for two weeks. "The world had gone missing to me," he writes, "I was not here. But everyone I cared about was." After three weeks of "learning to live upright again," he went home to his wife and three kids in Maryland, but, instead of returning to normalcy, Magary discovered he'd lost hearing in one ear, as well as his sense of smell and taste, and spiraled into a depression. Though his story seems ripe for cynicism, he relays it with compassion and humor, as he recounts fighting "bravely against orthopedic sex swings," and his struggle to "snatch back pieces of old existence." Magary did regain some of his hearing and his taste, but the real recovery story here is the path he found to accepting his new self, as a man living with disabilities and a newfound "reverence" for "everyday dad moments." Exquisitely painful, this work brims with hope.
This was a book I could not put down until it was done. Absolutely fantastic.