Friday, October 15, 2021

Review - The Night the Lights Went Out

Title:  The Night the Lights Went Out
Author Drew Magary
Publisher:  Rodale Inc.
Genre:   Biographies & Memoirs
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   288
Date of Publication:   October 12, 2021
My Rating:   5 Stars

A fascinating, darkly funny comeback story of learning to live with a broken mind after a near-fatal traumatic brain injury--from the acclaimed author of The Hike.

Drew Magary, fan-favorite Defector and former Deadspin columnist, is known for his acerbic takes and his surprisingly nuanced chronicling of his own life. But in The Night the Lights Went Out, he finds himself far out of his depths. On the night of the 2018 Deadspin Awards, he suffered a mysterious fall that caused him to smash his head so hard on a cement floor that he cracked his skull in three places and suffered a catastrophic brain hemorrhage. For two weeks, he remained in a coma. The world was gone to him, and him to it.

In his long recovery from his injury, including understanding what his family and friends went through as he lay there dying, coming to terms with his now permanent disabilities, and trying to find some lesson in this cosmic accident, he leaned on the one sure thing that he knows and that didn't leave him--his writing.

Drew takes a deep dive into what it meant to be a bystander to his own death and figuring out who this new Drew is: a Drew that doesn't walk as well, doesn't taste or smell or see or hear as well, and a Drew that is often failing as a husband and a father as he bounces between grumpiness, irritability, and existential fury. But what's a good comeback story without heartbreak? Eager to get back what he lost, Drew experiences an awakening of a whole other kind in this incredibly funny, medically illuminating, and heartfelt memoir.


Something most of us take for granted is our five senses. What would happen if you lost your sense of hearing? Smell? Even taste? Despite the fact that Drew Magary experienced at lease some of these losses did not take away his strong will. His sense of humor. 

Drew was at the 2018 Deadspin Awards show and after falling for what appeared to be no apparent reason, his life changed forever. While it first the injuries seemed minor, it did not take medical staff to realize how serious things were, and part of the result was Drew ending up in a coma for two weeks. It was a brain hemorrhage and recovery would no doubt proved to be a long road ahead.

His hearing was affected. His personality was as well. Not only did Drew have to deal with his own aspects of the long-term affects from what proved to be a very serious brain injury, his relationship with his family and friends was affected as well. 

Contemplating life and death, as well as recovery proved to take most of Drew's time and energy. In fact, he learned things about the brain and how our very senses are both affected and connected. In fact, reading this very book brought back memories of injuries my son sustained in a horrible car crash several years ago. Until this day, his sight and personality have been affected.

In life we find a balance. Each and every one of us have done so, as Drew did in his own life. Now that he has recovered from the brain injury, this balance had to be readjusted. Reading Drew's experiences was very inspiring and this book by Drew Magary not only entertained, but it informed as well. 

Many thanks to  and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Drew Magary, a co-founder of Defector and a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle online, wrote at Deadspin for over a decade before quitting with the rest of the staff en masse in protest. He’s the author of three novels, including Point B, The Hike, and The Postmortal. He lives in Maryland with his wife, his three kids, his dog, and 95 percent of a functioning brain.


  1. This looks like my kind of read - I enjoy dark humor.

  2. This sounds like a really poignant and fun read. Great review.