Having called Louise: Amended "an immediate, unsparing, and beautifully rendered account of loss and recovery" when it came out, Publishers Weekly has now counted the book among its top 20 nonfiction titles of the year. Perfect excuse to catch up with our very own Louise Krug, who turned a massive brain-bleed into a multi-POV memoir, on life since the pub date.
Let's talk about your readings. Have they drawn people with stories similar to your own?
At some of them, I have had mothers and daughters who've had — the daughters have had brain injuries, even similar to mine, which is surprising to me because I don't think that brain injury people ever expect to meet another brain injury person. What really was surprising to me was when I had some columns that ran in the Guardian and the Huffington Post a while back. And, oh my gosh, they got a zillion responses, from people who had disabled parents to people who said I was ridiculous. I didn't really pay attention to that, but I like hearing from people who had situations very similar to mine.
Have you heard from any of your doctors about the book?
No doctors, but ... I do get referrals now more than before: "Oh, so-and-so's daughter is going to have brain surgery next month; you want to talk to her about it?" That kind of thing, now that people know I've been through it.
I really like the "What X Thinks" series on your blog, where members of your family talk about how they're portrayed in the book. What was the most surprising thing you learned?
It's weird to hear from your family members and from the guy you're married to about how they felt about being in your book; I kind of feel bad for them, you know? I really like Nick's post so much, especially the part where he says I portrayed him as a bald guy who smiles a lot. It was so hard to write about Nick at all, and I did it as little as possible. The truth is, it is so hard to communicate and capture what he means to me. In his post, he says I was a little too flattering with the way I portrayed him in the book, but that's so not true. He has been central to my effort in making a new life and being happy. I'm still amazed at how lucky I got.
Will there ever be a "What Claude Thinks"? [Claude is Louise's boyfriend early in the book, "a man given to wearing his button-down shirts buttoned halfway up," says PW.]
Ha! I haven't heard from him. I don't know, I think he's living in Europe somewhere. He probably doesn't know about the book. You know what, though? I have a feeling he's fine with it.
I have to ask: as a native of Kansas, a state famous for tornadoes, what was your perspective on Hurricane Sandy?
I really feel for all the victims. My two brothers actually live in Manhattan, so I was talking to them a lot last week. Scary stuff. They had gone to the store, had their candles ready, and charged their phones the night before the storm. We Kansans know the drill.