Review: Living and Coping with Epilepsy, My Way by Cara Coles

Cara Coles bookIf you’re newly diagnosed with epilepsy and looking for medical information about your condition, this isn’t the book for you.

However, if you’d like to read an intensely personal account of how Cara Coles came to terms with her diagnosis – and eventually began to see it in a positive light – give Living and Copying with Epilepsy, My Way (2015, Soul Rocks) a shot.

Shocked by her seizures, British healthcare worker Cara decides to use the law of attraction and positive thinking to prove that she can have whatever she wants out of life, no matter what.

She writes a list of wishes, from getting her driving licence back to meeting her favourite band – I would love to know which band, and what happened on the mysterious sixth tour date that “we don’t talk about” – and publishing a book, and trusts the universe to deliver.

It’s an easy book to read, with the short chapters giving it the feel of a series of blog posts. Although this isn’t the case, it does seem a bit like a self-published vanity project, and it’s quite repetitious in places with some odd asides.

Having said that, I did enjoy reading it. I have epilepsy myself and recognised many of the stages she goes through, from the fear of having a seizure in public to the profound grief of losing your driving licence and hence your independence. I too went through a period of being afraid to go to sleep in case I had a seizure. It was a great comfort to read about the emotional impact of having epilepsy and feel that I wasn’t alone.

Given that the theme of the book was the law of attraction, I was concerned that at some point she was going to trust the universe to deliver a cure for her epilepsy. I was glad to see that she trusts her neurologist’s advice throughout and doesn’t advocate throwing away your medication and hoping for the best.

Cara’s sincerity shines throughout the book – she clearly believes in the law of attraction, that “like attracts like”, and presents a convincing case. Even this sceptical reader felt inspired to think about clearing out the spare room to release the blocked energy within.

No matter what you think about the book’s central premise, you can’t deny that it would be a better world if more people considered the power of gratitude and kindness. And this is something everyone could benefit from, with or without epilepsy.

“It’s still your life: how you live it is up to you. You are who you are; you are not who your illness says you are.” Cara Coles

* I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Top five posts of 2014

Happy New Year! I thought I’d do a quick round-up of my most popular posts of 2014 (not including homepage/archives), even though I use this site as a portfolio rather than a blog at present.

In ascending order:

5. Life Stories

This page is about the short book I wrote with the National Memorial Arboretum a few years back.

4. A homemade deodorant recipe that really works

I use this every day and I hope this post about making your own nasty-free deodorant has inspired some people to give it a try.

3. Why I love my Mooncup (review)

Another “crunchy” post with more intimate information about me than you might want!

2. Where are the celebrities with epilepsy?

I’d still love to see someone famous “come out” as having epilepsy as I think this would have a real impact on raising awareness and combatting stigma. Epilepsy awareness is a real passion of mine.

1. The secret meaning behind In The Night Garden’s opening words

This was far and away the hottest post on my site with four times as many clicks as the next most popular. It seems a lot of people – particularly in Australia, for some reason – are also wondering whether Iggle Piggle might be dead.

Book review: William & Dorothy Wordsworth: All in Each Other (Oxford Today)

allineachotherI reviewed William & Dorothy Wordsworth: All in Each Other by Lucy Newlyn for Oxford University’s alumni publication Oxford Today.

It says a great deal about the way our minds work that Lucy Newlyn (Lady Margaret Hall, 1975) feels she must place her cards firmly on the table just eight lines into this literary biography’s preface.

She is, she explains, interested in the close relationship between siblings William and Dorothy Wordsworth “as evidence of their intense emotional and spiritual need” (her italics). Reader, if you’re looking for scandalous revelations of incestuous passion, you’ve come to the wrong place.

Read the full review here.

Book review: Philosophy Bites Back (Oxford Today)

philbitesbackI reviewed Philosophy Bites Back by David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton for the Oxford alumni publication Oxford Today.

Podcast fans may already be familiar with the hugely successful Philosophy Bites series, which began in 2007 and has since been downloaded nearly 20 million times. But for those not in the know, Philosophy Bites Back is the second collection of transcribed interviews taken from the popular digital philosophical show.

Click here to read the full review

Book review: The State We Need by Michael Meacher – Oxford Today


I reviewed The State We Need by Michael Meacher MP for the Oxford alumni publication Oxford Today.

Somewhere, in a parallel universe in which Michael Meacher (New College, 1958) won the 2007 Labour leadership contest, the world is quite a different place.

Manufacturing is on the up; the elite ruling classes are losing their stranglehold on power; the banks are increasingly accountable to the public. In that world, climate change is being addressed, adult social care is a free universal service, and the super-rich are helping to wipe out national debt through greater taxation.

But could this ever really happen?

Click here to read the full review.