The Night the Lights Went Out

A Memoir of Life After Brain Damage

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.

Buy this Book on

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 12 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 28 Feb 2022

Talking about this book? Use #TheNighttheLightsWentOut #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


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 has produced a remarkable account of his journey, one that is filled with terror, tenderness, beauty, and grace.”—David Grann, bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon

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.
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 has produced a remarkable...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780593232712
PRICE $27.00 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)

Average rating from 93 members

Featured Reviews

The lights went out for Drew Magary on December 5th, 2018 in a karaoke bar in Manhattan. They nearly never came back on. But I am so grateful that they did. On that night, Drew collapsed onto a cement floor and was left with a subdural hematoma that was going to take on his brain like Godzilla took on Tokyo. Did the fall cause the hemorrhage or did the hemorrhage cause the fall? No one will ever know. The only thing that was certain was that Drew was at the precipice of death when the surgeons at Mt. Sinai Hospital were able to stop his free fall with just his toes gripping the cliff's edge. Put into a medically induced coma, his friends, co-workers and his extraordinary wife, Sonia tell the story of what happened as he laid in the coma for two weeks.

This is not a Rocky script with Drew yelling "Hey , Sonia!" as everyone cheers. This is a raw, honest telling of the rebuilding of a human - first the body, then the mind, finally the soul. He is courageous as he tells of his bad behavior, his self absorption and his depression. There is also great honesty as he learns to allow himself to be vulnerable with his family. The book covers the meat grinder of feelings that those who love him are put through. Setback after setback. Struggle after struggle. But also the victories and triumphs both small and large as he fights his way not so much back, but to the new place and new person he has become. I always say that birth is messy - rebirth, maybe more so, But this is Drew Magary, the man who won Chop't! He will just take all the same ingredients and make a new dish. And Sonia, I only hope that I can show the courage that she did in keeping her children safe and secure while fighting insurance companies and doctors if I am ever tested in this way,
This is an incredible gut wrenching book. It is 'It's a Wonderful Life" as directed by Tarantino. You won't finish this book and look at life the same. So dive in and do a little soul remodeling,
My very big thanks to NetGalley and Harmony for the ARC of The Night The Lights Went Out".

Was this review helpful?

Maybe I should preface this review with the fact that if Drew Magary writes it, I am reading it. Whether it's "Why Your Team Sucks" (and it's the Vikings so yes, they suck out my soul) or a quasi SciFi love story, I am there. This book, however, was something beautiful and unique and unlike anything of his that I had ever read.

The Night the Lights Went Out broke me down and then helped me to heal again. In our newly mournful post Covid work, this was a perfect read. It seems we have all lost so much in the last 24 months, so who better to guide us on a journey than a man who very honestly tells a story of nearly losing his life, his brain, his smelling, taste and, at times, himself.

The time of Mr. Magary's "lights out" is told by his friends and loved ones, who happen to be a very talented and honest group of people. As the actual occurrence to this day remains a mystery, we begin our journey with them. If you have ever been with a loved one who has fought a seemingly impossible medical battle, this will be familiar. The times are scary, desperate and yet hopeful and are illustrated amazingly.

This journey continues as the author battles his way back to trying to be the man he once was while overcoming obstacles that so many of us take for granted. The smell of se air. The taste of smoked meat. The sound of an amazing song. These things we enjoy everyday without so much as a second thought are suddenly ripped away and along with them, the person who once was also able to experience these everyday joys.

Reading this made me laugh, cry and god help me - appreciate the smell of a fart. It was a lesson in love, the human spirit and overcoming odds from a person who was brutally honest in a way that is seemingly hard to find in today's glossy IG ready and filtered world.

Read this, appreciate your life, mourn what you have lost and then go out and appreciate life and all the people and senses we all take for granted.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you #Netgalley for the advanced read!

Wow! To think Drew went to work, hosted a fun little award show for his team and was ready to let loose at a local bar with his friends when the lights went out.....but just for Drew. Apparently, his coworkers found him down in the hall after an apparent fall. From there he is taken to the hospital, emergency surgery and in a medically induced coma. I like how Drew had each of the loved ones around him share their recollection of what they remember during this period of time. So many unknowns and what ifs. This book kept me intrigued and I could not put it down, I wanted to know more. Loved Drew's honesty of his recovery story and all the things that he struggled with, including hearing and taste.

Was this review helpful?

As a fan of Drew’s from the Deadspin days, I remember worrying about him when his accident happened. In his signature style, Drew looks back at his accident, using an oral history of the accident night and his hospitalization and prose for rehab, to explore what happened to him. Very interesting and quite self aware. Drew’s reflection on his long recovery, as a father and husband, hit home. Really enjoyed.

Was this review helpful?

This is a fascinating, inspiring, funny at times, while downright sad at other times, memoir of Drew magary following a fall that caused TBI.
It was a quick read and I really liked the way family and close friends shared how they felt and were altered in their own lives following Drew's injury.
The pages reflect his emotions and his fight to regain "his world",though now different.
This book good, It is really good!
Life can change without warning in a second and when no body expects it.
It is how we cope and learn from it that makes us, us.
Remarkable story!

Was this review helpful?

A fascinating (and even funny!) read about what happened to Drew when something happened to his brain that caused him to have horrific brain damage. There were parts that made me read faster to find out what happened next, and parts that made me laugh out loud. This is a really well-written book!

Was this review helpful?

A look at the authors life after horrific brain damage.Drew shares his new life his adjustment to his new life.This is so well written and so funny I could not put it down.Will be recommending.#netgalley#rodale

Was this review helpful?

I profoundly appreciated this book. Life is a fragile and delicate thing, and the story that Drew tells, of a sudden subdural hematoma and profound skull damage from a resulting fall on concrete, brings this fact to the front of the mind. The section of the book about the night of his accident—the events of which he, obviously, does not remember—consists solely of interviews with his colleagues, his doctors, and most notably his wife, who is clearly a tower of strength even in the face of a harrowing situation. Drew adds no editorialization to these stories, which makes them feel even more real and unguarded. The story of his recovery is more light-hearted—Drew is able to see the absurdity that comes with irreversible life change and disability—but no less honest, especially in his emotional recovery in the face of his and his family’s trauma. It takes a great writer to be funny about a profoundly unfunny situation, and Drew is just that. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Was this review helpful?

Wow this book was quite literally a page turner. I read it in one sitting because I couldn't wait to read what happened next. While the story was remarkable, what I found myself admiring most was the authors sense of humor. I literally laughed out loud in several spots. The way the book was paced and how the story was told from different perspectives while the author was in the coma was really well done. The authors way of writing is so visceral that you feel as if you're going on the journey with him.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: