cover image All Better Now

All Better Now

Emily Wing Smith. Dutton, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-525-42624-0

Smith’s absorbing memoir provides an uncommon glimpse into the inner world of a girl who has always had trouble functioning. The prologue makes it clear that even in adulthood, with a thriving career as a writer and a happy marriage, she continues to suffer from what she calls “Woo-Head,” a “headache hybrid” that combines dizziness, light-headedness, and trembling. A difficult child from her earliest years, Smith (Back When You Were Easier to Love) had more than her share of problems, including sexual assault and a car accident, which contributed to her behavioral struggles. The discovery of a brain tumor at 12 seemed to be the explanation for Smith’s condition, but even with its removal, her difficulties remained. Her narrative is interlaced with professionals’ psychological evaluations of her from age six through 16, which offer external perspective on her personal story. Smith unapologetically and honestly delivers all the messy details of her hard-won life and, without striving for sympathy, draws readers firmly to her side to applaud her developing successes. Ages 12–up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Mar.)