Stroke of Grace, A

25 May 2022

A Stroke of Grace: A Guide to Understanding and Living With an Acquired Brain Injury
by Julianne Heagy
Published by Wood Dragon Books
Review by Toby A. Welch
$19.99 ISBN 9781989078891

This powerful book is a must-add for your to-read list! In a nutshell, Assiniboia-based writer Julianne Heagy suffered a life-changing stroke on her 31st wedding anniversary. This compelling read shares her story. Heagy doesn’t sugarcoat anything in this memoir; she includes all the grisly details. 

I appreciate how this book is broken up chronologically. Heagy had her stroke on May 21, 2019, and A Stroke of Grace details one month per chapter. Once Heagy passes the one year anniversary of her stroke, the chapters morph into approximately yearly quarters. This layout allows for a seamless flow of the book with no distracting timeline jumping. While taking us on her journey, Heagy uses a friendly, casual tone with her words; it suits this story perfectly.

Aesthetically speaking, this is a beautiful book. The image drawn on the cover carries throughout the book, softening the words. The font the creators picked was an excellent choice, pleasing to read and soft. The size of the font is bigger than you usually find in books although it cannot be considered large print. My eyes loved it. Fabulous all around!

Any book that makes me a more empathetic person gets two huge thumbs up. This book is such a great reminder to treat others with a lot of leeway – you never know what they are going through. I especially appreciated the chapter near the back of the book titled “Things to Know About Someone with a Brain Injury… And How You Can Help” as it gives valuable advice for interacting with people recovering from brain injuries.

For anyone who has suffered a stroke, this book will be a crucial resource for a wide variety of things – where to go for help, available therapies for stroke survivors, strategies you can use to help you cope, and so many other tidbits. When Heagy was going through her ordeal, this information was hard for her to easily find. She used this book in part to share what she learned about the resources that are available. For example, Brain Injury Canada offers a self-paced guidebook, “Return to Work Following an Acquired Brain Injury,” that can be a huge help.  

Before reading A Stroke of Grace, I knew strokes were a common occurrence but I was clueless as to just how prevalent they are. As I learned in this book’s pages, strokes are the third leading cause of death worldwide. And strokes are on the rise in Canada with more than 62,000 of them in our country every year. 

I highly recommend this book not only for stroke victims but also for those who know them or love them. It’s an entertaining and powerful read. 


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