Wondering Who You Are by Sonya Lea

Wondering Who You Are

In the twenty-third year of their marriage, Sonya Lea’s husband, Richard, went in for surgery to treat a rare appendix cancer. When he came out, he had no recollection of their life together: how they met, their wedding day, the births of their two children. All of it was gone, along with the rockier parts of their past—her drinking, his anger. Richard could now hardly speak, emote, or create memories from moment to moment. Who he’d been no...

Details Wondering Who You Are

TitleWondering Who You Are
Release DateJul 5th, 2015
PublisherTin House Books
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography

Reviews Wondering Who You Are

  • Ylenia
    DNF @ page 235I'm sorry but I can't force myself to read this. That's the opposite of what reading should be. I wasn't very much into this when I started it & I guess the feeling never left me, because here I am, giving up when I can finally see the end. I feel like memoirs are supposed to make you feel something & this one just missed the point for me, mainly because the writing style wasn't that good. The author talks & talks about how she's al...
  • Carol Holding
    Sonya Lea is a fabulous writer with an honest and subversive message, and Wondering Who I Am is a great read. Lea’s command of the medical specialists, medical centers, tests, drugs etc of traumatic brain injury, some of which are further elaborated on in the Notes section, makes this also an invaluable resource for anyone facing memory loss in themselves or a loved one. Wondering Who I Am is equal parts love story and medical nightmare. The tw...
  • Maddie
    Beautiful, honest, and heartbreaking. Sonya Lea bares her very soul in this memoir. We've all seen rom-coms like "The Vow" that explore memory loss and relationships, but Lea's story is so incontrovertibly honest; it automatically is set apart. Lea must grapple with the loss of a life- though no one physically dies. Rather, Lea's husband Richard suffers a brain injury after surviving a risky cancer treatment that ultimately erases his memories. H...
  • Rhonda
    This was probably one of the crappiest books I've read in awhile. I'm not sure there are many people whose memoirs I've read who were more dislikable to me than Sonya Lea. She's lived a life of addiction, whining, and "trying to find herself." I would say she is one big walking stereotype with the meditation, the Chinese medicine, the meditation and Buddhism with a sprinkling of prayers to God. Really, I couldn't stop reading because I was intere...
  • Stacy
    How brave and skilled do you have to be to write a book this good, this intimate, this honest, and this engaging? Very! The tale begins at the start of Lea’s romance with Richard when they were teens in Canada and goes through their marriage, childrearing, his illness his recovery, her recovery, and their recovery. It’s a story of acceptance, truth-telling, compassion, and growth. I can’t put it down, and, yet, every time that I do, I gain ...
  • Alyce (At Home With Books)
    This book appealed to me because of the medical aspect of the story: her husband losing his memory due to a medical procedure. I have a weakness for medical memoirs, as well as for amnesia stories, so this appealed to me from the start. What I hadn't counted on, but was pleasantly surprised by, was the author's deep soul-searching reflections on the nature of her relationship with her husband as well as personal identity (i.e. how memories make a...
  • Suzy
    When I started listening I thought this was going to be five stars, as I love author- narrated books. In the first half chapters alternate between past and present to fill in the back story of how Sonia & Richard met. The current strand of story then follows Richard's cancer diagnosis, treatment and memory loss following incorrect after-care at hospital. This is moving and personal, and it is amazing to hear how they coped. I also found Sonia was...
  • Deborah Wellum
    Mixed reaction to this book. The story about surviving a rare, aggressive cancer and the added tragedy of a life changing brain injury was remarkable. The roller coaster experience of those closest to such a situation was challenging and difficult. I was taken aback by some of the things that did happen and certainly don't understand the extreme actions taken by the author. Tedious and repetitious at times. However the sense of devastating loss a...
  • Michele Cacano
    So excellent. I am proud to call this woman "friend" and recognize the parts of her story that occurred over the past 15 years of our acquaintance. Sonya Lea writes from that part of the heart that people often call fearless, but is actually built in a cave of fear, and, instead, should be called the bravery of working and breaking through the fear. I can only imagine what the actual oh-fuck thoughts and emotions were as this type of honesty and ...
  • Mary Lou
    A bit past halfway through the book it became quite laborious to read.
  • Kathryn Gilmore
    Sonya Lea's "Wondering Who You Are" is a revelation. It's drama and suspense kept me up late into the night - finding it hard not to turn the next page. Sprinkled with vivid stories and just the right amount of humor, "Wondering Who You Are" is also highly entertaining - a story that had me, at times, shaking my head in disbelief at the trials and tribulations Sonya and Richard experienced. The bold lessons Sonya teaches us through her husband's ...
  • Amanda
    Finally finished this amazing book. It took me a bit longer than usual for something I enjoyed but I think it was because I was so interested in every detail, so I just let it soak in a bit more. Having been chronically ill, it was very interesting for me to see a illness from the caregiver side. Although I did not have a partner who was with me daily, I had a number of friends and loved ones that propped me up constantly and I know that at times...
  • Judith Laxer
    This fast paced memoir has everything: love, conflict, near death, loss, family, sex, recovery, and shifting identities set against a broad and varied landscape, from as far away as the Ganges River in India to as close as our own hearts and minds. Sonya Lea's command of language is as impressive as it is beautiful. Her candor is refreshing, her self-reflection courageous. I found myself caught up and expertly carried by her superb story telling....
  • Josephine Ensign
    While this was a reasonably well-written memoir, it felt consistently morally questionable (at best) and reprehensible (at worst) to me. This was mainly because Lea is telling the story of (and profiting from) her husband's medical mishap that resulted in his severe brain injury, while claiming that he has given his consent to tell 'his' story. Really? By the time I got to the part about her sexual explorations into affairs/ polyamory--again, sup...
  • Bridget Foley
    Bare, beautiful and full of truth about the difficulties of marriage, art and disability, Sonya Lea has done something lovely with "Wondering Who You Are." It is the story of a woman who has one marriage but two husbands, one a charming confident man lost to a cruel act of fate, the other the gentle "wonderer" who comes to occupy his mind and body after the loss. Readers who wept and nodded along with "The Glass Castle" and "Drinking: A Love Stor...
  • Nicole
    What would you do if the person you vowed to love for the rest of your life changed into a complete stranger? While there are some out there who don't take their vows very seriously, there are many who do. Sonya Lea is one of the latter. Wondering Who You are is an unflinching look into a twenty three year marriage that has been reset, so to speak. I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway.
  • Tammy
    I received this book from goodreads as a contest winner. I really enjoyed this touching memoir. It was so well written that I felt as if I was going through this journey with the author and her husband and family. It really shows what can happen to a family that is torn by a tragic happening in their lives, and how they can get through it together.
  • Tenli
    Wondering Who You Are is a memoir about not remembering, and about memory. It is a heartbreaking description of loss, and a meditation about anger, sorrow, and acceptance. In recognizing how much of our experience is interpretation, the author comes to a place of "finding strength in what remains behind" in a way that feels real, not pat.
  • Elaine
    What a sad, thought-provoking memoir. Sonya writes about her journey after her husband survives a hideous cancer, only to awaken with a total loss of memory. By following her (and her husband's) lives in this new, uncertain world there are so many opportunities to reflect on our own lives, identities, and relationships. Inspiring.
  • Frances Houseman
    Beautiful and honest. I continuously marveled at the author's willingness to "go deep" and be vulnerable. I so appreciated her words and will take them with me, incorporating many of her insights into my own mindfulness life practice.
  • Kayo
    Couldn't put this book down. Fabulous. Makes you see so much in a different light.
  • Christine
    This is the second heartbreaking memoir I've read in a row. It's such a cliché, but it's truly amazing what people can live through and survive.After twenty-three years of marriage, Sonya Lea's husband, Richard, was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of abdominal cancer. His internal organs were being overtaken by mucous-producing tumor cells and his prognosis was bleak. He decided to undergo an (at the time) experimental surgery. It was a su...
  • Heather
    I gave up on this book. This felt like a really interesting, dramatic story that a writer decided she could make even more interesting and dramatic with some wind-swept, emotional descriptions of relatively mundane things. Unfortunately, what got lost in this poetic re-telling of an American Love Story was the straight-up facts: throughout the first third of the book, Lea kept implying that her husband "was not the same man" as before an intense ...
  • Kathleen
    Lea's book was about difficult subject matter, a virulent form of cancer and a traumatic brain injury.She presents the subject matter in a too clinical format. It was one that never really allowed me to connect with the characters. Although I empathized with them due to the severe nature of the husband's health issues, it was as though the author had you observing from a distance rather than intimately engaging in their lives. It would have been ...
  • Dirk
    Simply outstanding. Lea writes with grace and stunning insight. This is my 79th book this year, and ranks as the best so far. Lea is brutally honest, unashamed, and writes about rebuilding, recreating, reimagining her marriage and relationships as her family works through her husband’s harrowing cancer and its repercussions. I don’t believe there was a single chapter that closed without the downward pull of a tear down my cheek.
  • Julie
    This book was choppy and repetitive in several parts. The story was worth reading and had an interesting topic, but I found myself losing interest about 1/3 the way through and fought to finish. There are several well-written passages, the author's writing style is pronounced, but the subject matter is sleepy. Should have been condensed to 200 pages at best.
  • Margarita
    Amazing, crazy, relatable. A woman and her husband have their lives upturned when the husband's cancer diagnosis leads to an experimental treatment and a subsequent anoxic brain injury that changes their lives forever.
  • Lucy
    Honestly? 3 stars. It was a good story, with an interesting premise, and a beautiful cover, but it just didn’t go anywhere. The extra .5 is for the beginning- it was really powerful reading about Sonya’s grapples with alcoholism.
  • Huda Al-Marashi
    This is an absolutely gorgeous memoir with beautiful prose and an even more beautiful story. It will make you think differently about love, memory, and identity.