Summer reading: Tell me the planets

In our final Summer Read, Headway’s Ben Platts-Mills writes about his work with adults who have had a brain injury.

Tell me the planets
  In Tell me the planets, stories of brain injury and what it means to survive, Ben takes us into his life as he works with a number of people in his role at Headway East London. Each individual had a brain injury at a different stage of their life and from varying circumstances including strokes and virus. Danny’s brain injury was a result of violence. The person who features most in the book is Matthew, who had a life threatening cyst in the middle of his brain. A lot of Matthew’s story focuses around medical appointments and whether another operation should take place, and the feelings he has about this. The book is a compassionate read and it gives us an insight into some of the traits that affect these adults in their lives. The reader learns about confabulation, where fabricated, distorted or misinterpreted memories are produced without the individual affected realising these memories didn’t happen. Tell me the planets also tells us of the challenges, such as visiting a number of professionals without consistency and agreement at times. There are often struggles, be them financial, housing or medical, but the book is a strong account of friendship, trust and relationships. It’s a pleasure to read about Danny’s work as a peer support worker in a hospital neurosurgery department in one of Headway’s early intervention projects. The reader is absorbed in Danny’s chat with mum Becky as she speaks from the bedside of her 17-year-old son Kieran who had a motorcycle accident a few months earlier.
Ben Platts-Mills
Ben Platts-Mills
Author Penelope Lively describes Tell me the planets as 'An absorbing and moving account of what it is like to live with brain injury' while Foyles Newsletter calls it ‘Remarkable.  Heartbreaking and uplifting’. Headway East London feature excerpts and interviews from those who shared their story in the book, including Danny. Other books reviewed in our Summer Reading series are Looking at the stars and Eye can write.  
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