Southborough author writes about her “life-altering” MS diagnosis in “Uncomfortably Numb”

Above: A Southborough resident’s memoir deals with “losing one’s life as it was once imagined, and the ultimate, uneasy peace that’s achieved with the permanent uncertainty which accompanies living with a chronic illness.” (photo left by Nancy Gould)

Author Meredith O’Brien is part of a group of authors this spring with a dubious distinction. Their books launched at a time when book tours started being put on hold.

The Southborough author is trying to make the most of her situation. I’m gathering that grappling with stressful challenges is something that O’Brien is familiar with. 

O’Brien’s memoir published this spring is titled “Uncomfortably Numb: The life-altering diagnosis of multiple sclerosis”. 

Best selling author of Dietland, Sarai Walker, describes the memoir:

In Uncomfortably Numb, Meredith O’Brien writes unflinchingly about her life before and after her MS diagnosis. Detailing her treatment, her struggles to be taken seriously by doctors, and the effects of it all on her family, career and sense of self, she writes in a clear-eyed and courageous voice, bringing the reader along with her as she navigates this profound, life-altering experience.

Other author’s call it “frank and relatable” (Maya Dusenbery), “an engaging, thought-provoking, informative story” (Lisa Romeo), and “heartening to anyone who has lived with the uncertainty of chronic illness” (Andrea J. Buchanan). (You can read more here.)

The Southborough writer has been grateful for the support the literary community is showing authors like her. The literary magazine Entropy posted a quarantine reading list of “Books You Shouldn’t Forget to Buy” which included her memoir.

On May 2nd, O’Brian will be part of the the Les Bleus Literary Salon, where she’ll read from her memoir for 10 minutes, along with other authors. The Southborough Library is working with Southborough Recreation to offer a Virtual Author Event later in the month. (An author night had been slated to be held at the Library earlier this month.) The podcast, RealTalk MS, has recorded an interview with her (still to be posted). 

Plus, an authors-helping-authors group* organized a series of virtual author talks last month. For O’Brien’s she spoke about her memoir about her MS diagnosis, and:

my literary inspirations, Suzanne Strempek Shea’s “Songs from a Lead-Lined Room” and Susannah Cahalan’s “Brain on Fire.”

(You can view that below or by clicking here.)

A signed copy of O’Brien’s memoir is available to purchase via Tatnuck Booksellers’ curbside pickup in Westborough (call 508-366-4959). Alternatively, you can also purchase copies through online stores, including amazon which also offers a kindle ebook.

If any of you out there are holding virtual book groups these days, O’Brien is willing to join you online to talk about her book. (You can email her at

As some readers will recall, this isn’t O’Brien’s first book. She authored three previous books, including Mr. Clark’s Big Band, and co-authored another. Her bio describes:

She is a journalism faculty member and writing coach at a university in Boston. An avid fan of current events (she’s a serious news junkie), pop culture, the Red Sox, and coffee, Meredith lives in the Boston area with her spouse and two dogs, Max and Tedy.

Visit her site and follow her on Twitter, @MeredithOBrien.

*The video series was named “Nothing is Cancelled Virtual Book Tour”, but is now under the new mantle of A Mighty Blaze

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