Home / Books / Book Reviews / Book Review: Unthinkable: A Mother’s Tragedy, Terror, and Triumph Through A Child’s Traumatic Brain Injury by Dixie Fremont-Smith Coskie

Book Review: Unthinkable: A Mother’s Tragedy, Terror, and Triumph Through A Child’s Traumatic Brain Injury by Dixie Fremont-Smith Coskie

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It’s every mother’s nightmare – getting the phone call to inform you that your child’s been hurt. Author Dixie Fremont-Smith Coskie was lost in the minutia of everyday life the minute she took a phone call and her life was thrown into chaos. Her son’s story begins in the pages of Unthinkable: A Mother’s Tragedy and it follows the unbearable events through his fight for survival.

In 2001 and shortly before the atrocities of 9/11, Coskie’s son, Paul, was involved in his own crisis — an SUV collided with him as he biked on a local street. Without the protection of a helmet, Paul suffered severe injuries to his brain. Coskie’s story takes the reader from the scene of the accident, through a helicopter evacuation, the arrival at the emergency room, and last rites from the hospital’s priest, and hookups to a life support system. Over the course of a year, this determined family sees their broken member slowly come out of his coma, relearn to talk, walk, and eventually function again. Paul makes the transition back to school and even actively advocates for helmet use.

 A Mother’s Tragedy is told from Coskie’s perspective and utilizes both her narrative of the ordeal as it unfolds as well as a journal written for Paul during the time the accident occurred. Heart-wrenching and vividly detailed, she writes with emotional clarity and truly paints the picture for her readers to follow… so much so that I was crying by page four. I regularly had to put the book down in order to wipe away tears. But the book isn’t all sad. Readers get to witness Paul’s rebirth into normalcy and a family completely changed with newfound appreciation for the little triumphs of life. I celebrated Paul’s determination and cheered for his accomplishments. Further, Coskie takes her life lessons from each stage of this process and offers her readers tips on what to do if a brain injury happens to someone they love. This advice can serve as a companion guide to lessen the feeling of helplessness in a situation.

A Mother’s Tragedy is so much more than a firsthand account of personal tragedy. Coskie’s eloquent style puts you in the middle of the situation while the sheer amount of intensity that she conveys is absolutely exhausting. Those looking for an emotional and heartfelt account of a mother’s strength will love her story while those going through similar circumstances will find a gentle and sympathetic friend. Absolutely powerful.

Reviewed by Vicki Liston for Reader Views

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  • Many victims of TBI die or stay in a persistent catatonic state. Some live with major memory or cognitive issues. Others have permanent physical handicaps or are severely disabled… The reality is that every brain injury is unique, depending on the specific circumstances and severity of injury, immediate and long-term medical care, rehabilitation services, and the individual patient and family. But one thing is certain–traumatic brain injury changes lives. Its “UNTHINKABLE” not to wear a helmet!

  • his story had a miraculous ending. Immediate medical attention and follow-up by the involved physicians probably lead to a much better outcome.

    Biking and motorcycles can be dangerous due to the presence of large vehicles on the road coupled with huge potholes in some areas.

    Safety helmets are in order for sure in order to protect the head from potentially fatal injury. A team of physicians will be needed in this case together with a good physical therapist and nutritionist to restore health optimally if such a goal is even attainable.