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Wide Awake and Dreaming: A Memoir

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  637 ratings  ·  99 reviews
Julie Flygare was on an ambitious path to success, entering law school at age 22, when narcolepsy destroyed the neurological boundaries between dreaming and reality in her brain. She faced terrifying hallucinations, paralysis and excruciating sleepiness aspects of dream sleep taking place while wide awake.

Yet, narcolepsy was a wake-up call for Julie. Her illness propelled
Paperback, 213 pages
Published December 15th 2012 by Mill Pond Swan Publishing (first published December 13th 2012)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  637 ratings  ·  99 reviews

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I happened upon this book when visiting the Narcolepsy Network one day recently. I’ve long been a fan of memoirs (especially health-related), and years ago I searched far and wide for a book about narcolepsy. After a long and arduous search, I was finally diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy in May of 2011. Oh, how I wish there had been a book like this back before I was diagnosed!

I have so many feelings for Wide Awake and Dreaming that it’s hard to put them into words. Let me try to sum up
Wendy P
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Helping me understand a loved one.
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed this book, but left wanting more. It is clear that the author is not a writer, because she's constantly contradicting herself throughout the often as saying something, and literally 2 pages later saying exactly the opposite. There are also loose ends everywhere..starts of stories that are never completed, random statements that are never fulfilled. If this is on purpose to showcase the mental tax of narcolepsy, brava; but I don't think that's the case. Much of this book is wr ...more
Ann Sciabarrasi
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As a PWN, all I can say is that your book is a gift. I have had narcolepsy with cataplexy for as long as I can remember. I was not diagnosed until age 50, 10 years ago. After 50 years of being a "great sleeper" with a "trick knee" who drank 12-14 cups of coffee a day, I cried tears of joy on getting a diagnosis. This author captures so beautifully what life is like when you never know when your body will deceive you...when you have to plan every move to consider the what ifs. Julie Flygare's run ...more
May 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
kind of a hate read, if I'm honest. there is a woman with narcolepsy at my quaker meeting, and she loaned out some copies of books so people could educate themselves about the condition. I don't feel like I learned all that much about narcolepsy from the book though. it was very much one woman's experience - she says that other people experience different symptoms etc. but she doesn't really go into it. the woman at my meeting I know had a very different experience from her.

she's not a professi
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am so grateful that Julie Flygare chose to be transparent about her journey. As a person with Narcolepsy, I felt so isolated and struggled with my self-confidence.

After reading Julie's story I realize I am one of 3 million who have their lives affected by this invisible chronic condition.

Narcolepsy has cost me a career that I reveled in, a normal social life, and has affected how others view me. I have been lucky enough to find a partner who recognizes when I have hit the wall. He recognizes t
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Julie does a great job showing the everyday struggles that someone with Narcolepsy with Cataplexy must overcome. She gives a voice to the few of us who have been diagnosed, such as myself, and I applaud her tremendously. While Narcolepsy might not be noticeable on the outside, it's a constant inner battle physically and mentally. After reading Wide Awake and Dreaming, Julie has taught me to not be so hard on myself. I have learned to be proud of myself and my accomplishments and keep my head hig ...more
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Julie has laid out the narcoleptic experience from beginning to end. From mysterious symptoms, diagnosis, meds management, lost hope for a 'fix' to finding a way to best live with such a little-known disorder, Julie shows what it is like to live with narcolepsy.

Narcolepsy is so under diagnosed, that narcoleptics have trouble finding others to learn from and share experiences and non-effected people know little to nothing about it. This book is a wonderful source to hear another's story as well
Dec 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Julie eloquently and bravely describes life with a condition that is too often suffered in silence due to misperceptions of its nature and far-reaching effects on one's daily life. It is extremely difficult to communicate the experiences so common among people with narcolepsy to unaffected loved ones, and even healthcare providers...but Julie's book successfully accomplishes this and so much more. Bravo!
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Made me really appreciate my daughter's struggles and our misquided reaction to her disease. When I look back at what she'sbeen able to accomplish I'm humbled. Good job Julie for giving us a glimpse into the day to day struggles with narcolepsy and cataplexy. Enlightening and a must read for anyone hoping to understand this disease and it's toll on young lives.
Mandi H
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
Amazing book. I love how she was able to get in depth about what she was seeing and feeling at the times of her blacks outs. She was able to describe her medicine and it was almost like you could taste it.
This is a great book. Everyone should read this. I stayed up late several nights just to read this book. :)
Aug 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written and insightful

Well written and insightful

It is inspiring that she shared her life story with strangers to bring light to a subject so misunderstood. Instead of turning bitter, she used her story to push herself to new limits. She is able to empathize with other PWN and give them hope.
Cameron Kelly-Johnson
It was a good book. It's short, it ends at the climax, and we're left to wonder what life is like afterwards.
Virginia Welch
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
What an interesting book. I always marvel at how people who suffer something awful can take their experience, and in the hands of a skilled writer, put forth a gripping story of the human spirit--even of victory.

Julie Flygare starts out her first year of law school accompanied by strange, disconcerting physical symptoms that worsen over time. Eventually she is diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy, life-altering conditions that rob her of her strength, focus, confidence, social life, boyfrien
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Julie Flygare does an amazing job of describing what it feels like to have narcolepsy, and the ways in which it rearranges and redefines one's life. She has always been extremely driven, but as she develops symptoms and is diagnosed with a "textbook" case of narcolepsy, she must come to terms with the fact she can no longer live the life she had envisioned for herself.

She doesn't sugarcoat her experiences, and she struggles a lot. She slowly realizes that she must figure out how to fit this diag
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, favorites
Wide Awake and Dreaming: A Memoir This book was not only a good read; it was so parallel to my life and struggle with my narcolepsy that I cried after the first 4 chapters. I had to read it all the way through and it was if someone could see inside my mind and my experience. It took me far longer to figure out the narcolepsy in my situation because I do not have cataplexy. Julie Flygare Julie is a wonderful advocate for this chronic illness but even more than that she is real -- brave and strong ...more
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
I couldn't wait to read this book because I, too, have narcolepsy and wanted to see if her story was like mine. I can relate to so many experiences shared in this book. Especially not doing as well in school as you feel you ought to be doing and not really knowing why. The frustrations and the misdiagnoses and the denial... All too familiar. She is very brave to share her experiences as a narcoleptic because this condition is emotionally taxing and life can be filled with so much shame and misun ...more
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was diagnosed with narcolepsy/cataplexy this last January - - - and I felt so lost to know how to grasp what this was going to mean in my life.

I was given the title of this book to read to learn more about my new normal from a person who is living life as a PWN/C.

This is one of the books that has literally changed my life. I am so thankful to have learned about it at a time when I was really needing a friend to come alongside me to tell me how to live (and still achieve my dreams) as a PWN/C!

Haley Burrill
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As a person with narcolepsy, this book put into words what I haven’t been able to accurately articulate about my condition. From describing the fog feeling of sleep spells to expressing all of the frustrations that comes along with this highly overlooked, under-diagnosed disease, I can’t appreciate this book more. Members of my family have already requested to borrow it, so they too can better understand what I’m going through. If you or anyone you know has narcolepsy, I highly recommend reading ...more
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book for free in a Goodreads giveaway.

It was an inspirational and educational book about a young woman's struggle with Narcolepsy. I knew much less about this disease than I had realized. I am glad Julie chose to share her story with the public. I am sure it will comfort and help those suffering wwith the trials of Narcolepsy, and will provide the rest of us with valuable information about it. I found the book to be interesting and well written.and would recommend it to others. B
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was better than I expected. If I didn't have narcolepsy, I doubt I would have given it a second thought. But since I do, I thought it would be nice to see someone else's story. And it was. (Since I don't experience cataplexy, it was also helpful for me to learn more about what it's like for those who experience the more severe symptoms of this disorder.)

If you have narcolepsy, you should absolutely read this book. And if you know someone who has it, then maybe you should consider readi
Sybil Johnson
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this book because I'm researching narcolepsy and wanted to know what it was like from the perspective of a PWN (person with narcolepsy).

It was a very interesting read, detailing the author's journey from the first symptoms she experienced through her eventual diagnosis and treatment of symptoms.

It's a very personal account. I don't think she holds anything back. I have a much better understanding of the challenges a PWN deals with on a daily basis. But I also think it's a hopeful book.
Micki Larrabee
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book on a real person living with narcolepsy, a life-changing, significant sleep disorder. Julie Flygare has a gift for telling people how narcolepsy affects all aspects of life from pre-diagnosis to post-diagnosis. The book is very easy to read and is written in a way that makes you want to keep reading it to see what happens and how the book concludes. The book is personal and educating and well worth taking the time to read it!
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A very open and honest telling of a life changed by narcolepsy and cataplexy. Flygare explains her emotions and experiences from the onset of the disease through diagnosis, treatment, and learning to live with it. She admirably rises to the challenge and, while not the life she'd imagined for herself, finds her place in the world. Reading this memoire helped me better understand what my niece has experienced - I'm so proud of you, Teresa!
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
A thought provoking memoir. This book is so well written, I couldn't put it down. I thought I knew what narcolepsy was, but I never knew what it was like to live with narcolepsy. The author shares detailed day to day experiences. Her determination is inspiring and her accomplishments are hard earned.
Melissa Velasquez
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was really excited to find out about this book. While it may be a personal story, it is relatable for all. Julie does a great job of telling her story of diagnosis and living with Narcolepsy in such detail that you feel as if you are living it right there with her. I teared up many times as I could feel her pain and joy through the pages. Thank you Julie for putting your story out there.
Brian Remmerde
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book! This will help let people know about this sleep disorder and how it can be, at times, troubling and frightening.
I was lucky to be able to get it as a free download because of my Narcolepsy, but now I think it's worth any price she wants for it!
Thanks Julie!!
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
absolutely amazing and inspiring. As a narcoleptic with cataplexy this book helped me realize that my narcolepsy isn't a curse. if you have narcolepsy, know someone with it, or just need a great book to read....make sure this is the one you read next.
Jenn Engle
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As a person living with a PWN this book helped me understand better what my husband goes thru. It also gave me hope that he overcome the obstacles narcolepsy causes on a daily basis. It also helps to know he is not alone in his daily struggle. I pray one day they find a cure.
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book for any narcoleptic (PWN < explained in book) or anyone who knows one. ...more
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