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Claire's Head

3.34  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  19 reviews
By the acclaimed author of The Rules of Engagement and Minus Time, Claires Head is a compulsive, psychologically charged new novel about a migraine sufferer and her search for her missing sister.

On a quiet June morning, Toronto cartographer Claire Barber receives a phone call telling her that her sister Rachel, a freelance medical journalist living in New York, seems to
Paperback, 328 pages
Published October 4th 2005 by McClelland & Stewart (first published September 14th 2004)
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Average rating 3.34  · 
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 ·  99 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Oct 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Who knew that headaches could be so interesting? Claire's Head is about migraines, or more accureately, the pain of migraines, and how they shape the lives and characters of Claire and her sister Rachel. There's not much in the way of plot, which wasn't a big problem for me, but might be for others. Bascially, Claire goes in search of Rachel after she finds that no one has heard from her in a few months. While she's seaching, we get an introduction to fascinating anecdotes about migraines, ...more
Mar 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction

As a migraine sufferer of 32 years myself, I found this story very interesting and unique.

From cover:

"On a quiet June day, Toronto cartographer Claire Barber learns her sister Rachel has vanished from New York. As Claire disrupts her orderly life to follow news of her sister to Montreal, to Amsterdam, to Italy, and, ultimately to Las Vegas and Mexico, she is haunted by fears that Rachel's worsening migraines may
Samantha Spence
Jun 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
The novel Claires Head written by Catherine Bush is novel to help you understand everyone struggles in their own way and everyone is different, predominantly migraines as you learn so much about the pain they cause and potential cures. I believe that this novel is very valuable to read and you should considering giving it a try. Although I enjoyed the book I thought it was hard to get into because the first 100 pages seemed very repetitive. The same thing happened twice and you had to read it ...more
Terri Tinkel
Jan 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: family
If you have ever suffered with migraines on a regular basis and had trouble finding anything that helped with the pain, you will understand the basic theme of this book. Out of 3 sisters, two of them have severe migraines. One has disappeared and the other two are worried about her. She has left with no clues. The other sister who suffers from the headaches decides to search for her and she follows leads from Montreal to Amsterdam to Las Vegas to Mexico. After reading about half the book, the ...more
Karen Lowe
Feb 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting premise, wonderful writing but not a very engaging plot. The migraine aspects were realistic and well articulate without being repetitive. I felt less connected to Claire than I think I should have been. By that, I mean, her quest had utmost importance to Claire but everyone else almost dismissed it or treated it as trivial - 'that's just the way Rachel is' attitude (with the exception of Brad). It was touching that Claire persevered in it and I believe she learned something during ...more
Theryn Fleming
I bought Claire's Head because I really enjoyed Rules of Engagement. CH is primarily an exploration of pain and how we live with it. Claire and her oldest sister Rachel suffer from migraines. Middle sister Allison does not. (Is it a cliche that the middle kid is the prosaic one? Is it meant to be?) The sisters lost their parents in a freak accident some years earlier, so there is also an element of grief involved.

I didn't find CH quite as compelling a story as RoE. The mystery is pretty
Feb 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved and identified with the book. The writing was excellent, especially because it Catherine had the ability to really experience what it is like to have chronic pain, even if you haven't had that as a personal experience. She was excellent in really unpacking all the dynamics of what it feels like to battle chronic pain. I also appreciated her thought processes on how we mentally, emotionally and even spiritually attempt to get through each day living with an inner demon that ...more
J. E.  Hewitt
Sep 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
I didn't finish this one - I found it too bogged with detail that I didn't care about. A woman goes missing - she's been troubled, depressed, struggling with debilitating migraines - and her sister has to piece together what happened in the few days up to her disappearance in order to track her down. It didn't move quickly enough for me, or the characters were not interesting, or both.
Apr 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
Sadly disappointing book by a really good writer. Bush has the ability to make you care for her characters and carry you along, which is the reason I kept reading despite the copious regurgitation of research she'd obviously done on migraines. While some of this was informative, it was also overdone. However, perhaps I'd not have thought so, had the book actually gone anywhere but in circles.
Jul 02, 2012 rated it liked it
For the most part, I enjoyed this novel but I found the main character frustrating and the ending too abrupt. I appreciated the attempt to carve a story out of the subject matter - migraines - but I'm not sure it worked.
May 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book was outstanding at conveying the experience of migraine and how pain can rule your life. I felt tremendous relief that someone had articulated this for me. However, the plot holds almost no interest. Had I not had this personal connection, I would have given this book a 2 star rating.
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to love this book, and for the first two-thirds I did enjoy it, but after Claire started chasing across the country with Brad it just felt rushed and almost uncomfortable. The ending was very abrupt, leaving too much unanswered.
Woman with cronic migraines sets out searching for her missing sister, whom also suffers from cronic migraines. Good descriptions of reocurring pain and how it can effect everyday life.
May 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
I certainly had a much better understanding of migraine headaches after reading this
Nikki Byrne
May 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
Boring! These characters did little for me. But I stuck with it to see what happened and was totally left hanging. If you're on the fence, don't bother.
Nov 22, 2009 rated it liked it
Interesting book, especially if one is unfortunate to suffer from migraine headaches.
Carrie Turney
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
I think the only readers that would be interested in this book are those that suffer from migraine headaches.
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really liked this. Story of woman migraine sufferer looking for her missing sister. Original.
Aug 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Not as good as Minus Time, but it was interesting.

I would read another book by this authour.
Rachel Brethauer
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Natalee Caple
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Sep 26, 2010
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E Williams
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Catherine Bush was born and raised in Toronto, the daughter of a physician and a museum volunteer, and lived there until the age of 18, when she moved to the US to study at Yale University. At Yale, she completed a degree in Comparative Literature, including an undergraduate thesis on Amazons in 16th century literature. For five years in the mid-1980s, she wrote about dance and performance, ...more

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