Piece of Mind

by Michelle Adelman

Book, 2015



Call number




New York, NY W.W. Norton & Company 2015


At twenty-seven, Lucy knows everything about coffee, comic books, and Gus (the polar bear at the Central Park Zoo), and she possesses a rare gift for drawing. But since she suffered a traumatic brain injury at the age of three, she has had trouble relating to most people. She's also uncommonly messy, woefully disorganized, and incapable of holding down a regular job. When unexpected circumstances force her out of the comfortable and protective Jewish home where she was raised and into a cramped studio apartment in New York City with her college-age younger brother, she must adapt to an entirely different life--one with no safety net. Over the course of a challenging summer, Lucy is forced to discover that she has more strengths than she herself knew.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member jfe16
When Lucy was three, she was hit by a truck and suffered traumatic brain injury. She does not remember the “before” of her life, only the “after” in which she has had to learn to deal with what she can and cannot do for herself.

The story, told in the first person by Lucy, is uplifting and
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poignant, filled with the delight and anguish and perplexity of a young woman trying to make her way in a world in which others say she does not quite fit and which often confuses her.

Lucy’s daily life revolves around several key characters, each drawn with depth and perception and having a unique way of interacting with Lucy. Lucy’s exuberance at visiting the animals in the zoo and sketching them is pure joy.

Readers will find themselves rooting for this quirky heroine who faces the challenge of each day with bravery and tenacity. This is one book that will be hard to set aside before the final page has been turned.

Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member chrisblocker
Piece of Mind has its flaws—its weakness of resolution, its underdeveloped secondary characters, its saccharine-sweet storytelling—but at its heart is the extremely captivating mind of Lucy. Lucy is such a perfect blend of sweet and dysfunctional that it's difficult not to feel endearment
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toward her. Her messy, scattered way of living—the result of a brain injury suffered as a child—ensures difficult relations with everyone in her circle. In some ways, Lucy is a fully-functional adult; in others she is forever locked in her three-year-old frame of mind. Despite her frailty, or perhaps because of it, Lucy is lovable. She is eccentric and electric; her friends and family love her despite her flaws. Similarly, readers may love this book in spite of its flaws, choosing instead to focus on the sweetness that is Lucy.

Without Lucy, Adelman's novel would have suffered altogether too much from contrivances that saturate the plot and secondary characters (Nate and Frank excluded) that were vapid. With Lucy, Piece of Mind did the best it could. In my opinion, that would be 3.5 stars at most. I liked Lucy and I wanted better for her, but I desired a richer story that really put Lucy through the ringer without blaming her. In a different setting, a different universe, I could've really felt some deep empathy for Lucy, a sense of human connection. Here, I merely felt an affection, similar to the way a person may feel for their pet cat. Oh, you made a mess again, you rascal! I wish you'd stop breaking all my breakables, but I don't care 'cause you're so adorable and I can't help but love you.
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LibraryThing member nyiper
This book was so sweetly and movingly told---especially with the author's comments that her older sister, experiencing a brain injury in childhood, provided the drawings in her novel and also the book's inspiration. Written from Lucy's perspective was a revealing way to see the world---both
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convincing and upsetting in comparison to having a brain that works in what is a more normal pattern. The relationship between Lucy and Nate, her brother, was a big part of the story and beautiful as it developed.
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LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
Lucy is a curious mix of intelligence and disability. As a narrator, she is sometimes difficult to understand, but I found myself empathizing with her and wondering just how she would manage. Grief is a prominent theme, but there is also a sense of hope.


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