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Articles & Interviews associated with 'A Drop in the Ocean"















Book Blogger Reviews of 'A Drop in the Ocean"
























Advance Praise for A Drop In The Ocean

“In A Drop In The Ocean, protagonist Anna Fergusson learns that love is about letting go. Jenni Ogden takes us on a sweeping journey, rich with unique characters and places, moving backward and forward in time, to reach this poignant and heartfelt lesson.” Ann Hood, New York Times Bestselling author of The Knitting Circle, The Red Thread, and The Obituary Writer.

This is a quietly majestic book, taking on quests for identity, for connection, for love, for self - always with dignity and with an impressive breadth of understanding. Like the turtles whose lives and habits are tracked in these pages, the characters at the heart of A DROP IN THE OCEAN move gently but with enormous consequence. Here is a book to lose oneself in - and then share, enthusiastically, right away."
—Robin Black, bestselling author of Life Drawing and Crash Course: 52 Essays From Where Writing and Life Collide.

“Reading A Drop in the Ocean was everything a reading experience should be, endearing and enduring, time spent with characters who seem to be people I already knew.”
—Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times #1 best-selling author of The Deep End Of The Ocean, Oprah’s first book club choice, and acclaimed as one of the 10 most influential books of the past quarter century by USA Todaymagazine, credited with inspiring a generation of women to turn off the TV and read.

"A novel about turtles, the fragility of life, and the complexity of love, A Drop in the Ocean will transport you to remote islands with its lyrical natural imagery. This is a story to savor, discuss, and share.”
—Barbara Claypole White, bestselling author of The Perfect Son

Readers will enjoy this novel of second chances, not only at love but at life, reminiscent of Terry McMillan’s How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1996). —LynnDee Wathen, Booklist

"I fell in love with the island and with Tom myself, but those turtles. Oh, those turtles, I wanted to quit my day job and head to Australia to do everything I could to protect those magnificent, wise creatures.”
—For the Love of Books

"A Drop in the Ocean is about connection – between humans and between humans and the natural world. Jenni Ogden’s descriptions of life on a small island on the Great Barrier Reef, with its nesting turtles and exotic birds, sparkle like a brilliant sun on azure water. A Drop in the Ocean is a deeply affecting story of a woman’s journey to open up to love, life, and, most importantly, herself.
—Céline Keating
, author of Layla and Play for Me

"Evocative and thought-provoking, A Drop In The Ocean is a story about belonging—and the ripples that can flow from the family we choose to the family that chooses us." Anita Heiss, finalist in the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards, and bestselling author of Manhattan Dreaming

“Jenni Ogden is a natural storyteller who writes characters to care about.” —Nicky Pellegrino, author of One Summer In Venice.

A Drop in the Ocean is a brilliantly written novel that readers won't easily forget. Life, love, and loss are strong themes that will lure readers back to this beautifully woven journey of second chances. Readers will laugh and cry and want to hug Anna Fergusson as the scenes unfold. But that's not all. Readers will be taken into the vivid imagery of the island and the turtles. A powerful read that I highly recommend. —5 Star Readers' Favorite Review by Danielle Urban

'Trouble In Mind' Reviews

When a mind goes awry

Trouble in Mind (Jenni Ogden, Scribe, $32.95, ISBN 9781922070562, July 2013)

I do not think I would be alone in fearing ‘losing my mind’. Even the common expression, “are you out of your mind?” gives solid form to what may seem a merely philosophical train of thought. At any given time most people will declare confidently that “I am in my ‘right mind’ and point to themselves as that ‘I’. The quandary is the ‘I’ of age eight is different to the ‘I’ of forty-eight; despite the continuity of of ‘I’ joining these two for example. Our mind then is one of those puzzling concepts at once both familiar and ephemeral. To lose ones mind, though, even partially, through trauma, disease, or disorder we would all agree is to lose some quintessential part of us. Trouble In Mind is a collection of real stories about people who have suffered just that – losing part of their minds.

The stories are from patients that the neuropsychologist author, Jenni Ogden, has worked with over her career in New Zealand, the USA, and Australia. Ten of the 15 patients portrayed in this book featured in Ogden’s 2005 textbook Fractured Minds. Trouble in Mind is neither text, nor assessment, nor treatment book. There are other books on the market that describe patients with a variety of neurological conditions. Many written by clinicians such as Ogden. Most I find fall short because the clinician writer is excited by the condition and fails to connect the human to that condition. In other examples non-clinicians often focus complete cures, without any reference to the many that underwent similar treatments – without success.

Ogden’s stories succinctly and clearly explain the medical conditions and engagingly present the human side of each in an empathetic and nuanced style. Whether talking about patients with car-crash brain trauma, rugby-induced concussion or suffering from Parkinson’s disease Ogden covers the personal, social and family elements with clarity that is often missing in clinical based non-fiction written by clinicians. In this respect Ogden writes with feeling like that of psychologist Oliver Sacks at his best.

These are stories that will have a resonance with most in our society. Three in particular I will mention as way of illustration of the breadth covered. Michael was a 24-year old motorcycle maniac. After a horrific accident, he left the critical care unit with a virtually ignored head injury; the surgeons had grappled with keeping him alive and the extensive orthopedic surgeries and specialist care. neither he nor his doctors realised that he was cortically blind. This resolved itself after two years – leaving him with object agnosia – the inability to recognise what he was seeing. Ogden then describes he many years work with Michael, his trials, tribulations and treatments to living 24 years later is a life with a most interesting disability. Amongst this we also get Ogden’s motivation – her clinician’s ‘delight’ in being asked to work with such an unusual case. Yes her delight, her excitement; those real human emotions not hidden behind neutral, banal psychology speak.

Hemispherical neglect.
In another chapter Ogden looks at the bizarre neuropsychological disorder of hemineglect – ignoring visual stimuli in the side of space opposite to the side of their brain that is damaged. In this case though the patient is a chirpy 50 year-old female, Janet. The chapter is fascinating and the description of janet’s sessions with Ogden are sometimes, well, hilarious. But this is real-life not Hollywood. Janet’s hemineglect is caused by a brain tumor. Janet dies, four long and difficult years following her diagnosis. Ogden doesn’t just end the chapter, she humanely discusses the impact on Janet’s husband and close family and friends of her treatment and death. She also assesses the effectiveness of the treatments, looking at other cases, from her own and others’ casebooks.

The final chapter is aptly called “The Long Goodbye: coming to terms with Alzheimer’s disease.” This chapter follows Sophie’s diagnosis and cognitive decline from Alzheimer’s disease. I learnt a lot about the disease from reading this chapter. I equally learnt how it would be to watch a person who “was once active, independent, intelligent, humorous and loving gradually lose her mind”.

This collection of stories is eminently readable. I recommend it to readers with either; a specific, perhaps personal, topic of interest or those more generally who are curious and interested in how our minds work, particularly when they go awry due to damage to that squishy grey organ inside our skull.

Cite this article:
Orrman-Rossiter K (2013-06-20 07:23:15). When a mind goes awry. Australian Science. Retrieved: Dec 02, 2013, from http://www.australianscience.com.au/book-review-2/when-a-mind-go-awry/

AUTHOR: Kevin Orrman-Rossiter
Kevin Orrman-Rossiter is a physicist, philosopher, freelance science writer, sometime triathlete, and experienced blogger of several blogs. As a child he grew up with a telescope, chemistry set, geologist’s pick and deep curiosity about the universe around him. His habit of asking many questions and then trying to understand the answers led him to a PhD in physics. His new blog here, Beyond Earth, will explore all subjects ‘astro’; whether that is a Mars exploration or the latest cosmological findings. He wants to share with readers the adrenalin rush of real science and the significance of science to us all. Web: http://lucidthoughts.com.au Twitter: @lucidkevinor

BOOK REVIEW: Trouble in Mind (Jenni Ogden, Scribe)
Posted on 19 August 2013 by Books+Publishing
Losing your mind, that quintessential ‘me’, even partially, through trauma, disease or disorder, frightens most people. Trouble in Mind is a collection of stories about people who have suffered just that—losing part of their mind. The stories are from patients that the author, neuropsychologist Jenni Ogden, has worked with over her career in New Zealand, Australia and the US. Ten of the 15 patients portrayed in this book featured in Ogden’s 2005 textbook Fractured Minds. However, Trouble in Mind is not a textbook. Ogden’s stories clearly and succinctly explain the medical conditions, and engagingly present the human side of each case in an empathetic and nuanced style. Whether talking about patients with brain trauma from car or motorbike crashes, rugby-induced concussion or suffering from diseases such Parkinson’s and Huntingdon’s, Ogden covers the personal, social and family elements that are often missing in clinical-based nonfiction written by doctors. In this respect Ogden writes with feeling, like that of psychologist Oliver Sacks at his best. This is an eminently readable collection of stories recommended for readers with either a specific, perhaps personal, topic of interest, or those curious about how our minds work in general.

Kevin Orrman-Rossiter is a freelance science writer, journalist, editor and reviewer. This review first appeared on the Books+Publishing website in May 2013. View more pre-publication reviews here.

Review in Medical Journal of Australia, 198 (9), p507, 2013.

Neuropsychology Beyond Psychometry

WHEN ONCE ASKED about the qualities of a good clinician,
I replied that, as well as a fundamental interest in the human
condition and the skills to fully appreciate the meaning of
people’s stories, good clinicians should be good storytellers
Why good storytellers? History-taking requires much more
than a few words jotted down or typed out — it needs
compassion and understanding, informed by knowledge, skill
and experience. To understand the patient’s story for a
diagnosis, to refer a patient to colleagues, and most
importantly, to tell the patient what is going on, and what
comes next.
New Zealander Dr Jenni Ogden, one of the world’s
foremost clinical neuropsychologists, is well worth listening
to. Her compassion, care, experience, and supreme interest in
the human condition and its stories is evident. Her technical
exposition, and choice of references, covering the
fundamentals of cognitive dysfunction and its impact, hits the
The book takes the reader chapter by chapter, and case by
case, through the most important aspects of clinical
neuropsychology. All chapters, many of them topical, reward
the reader. In “Just a few knocks on the head”, two 16-yearold
New Zealand boys, aspiring to play elite level rugby union,
have their lives affected deeply by repeated concussions — a
subject currently much debated. But Dr Ogden leavens the
story by taking two young men from the opposite sides of the
tracks and interweaving their experiences, with an unexpected
turn of events: there is good news at the end.
The poignant “The long goodbye” tells of Sophie, a young
wife and mother looking after her own mother with
Alzheimer disease, but then realising she has the same
symptoms. Dr Ogden does not spare our feelings as she sets
out the disease processes and abnormal neurological
functioning, alas still incurable, but helps us to empathise with
the intergenerational pain of this family and its future.
The book shows what good clinical neuropsychology is all
about. Discussing Sophie’s psychometric test results, Dr
Ogden states: “Sophie’s psychologist made the mistake of
thinking that an average score is a normal score, whereas she
should have compared the scores with an estimate of Sophie’s
premorbid abilities.” This “salient lesson” shows that, through
clinically relevant information gathering, diagnoses and
differential diagnoses, and through suggesting investigations
and possible treatment, good clinical neuropsychologists go
beyond mere psychometric practice.
Dr Ogden brings great depth to understanding cognitive
disability in this book. Anyone with even a passing interest in
the brain and mind (meaning, any reader of the MJA) will
benefit from her book — it is great value for money.

Reviewer: John D G Watson
Associate Dean
Sydney Adventist Hospital Clinical School
Sydney, NSW

Reviews, Sunday 11th August, 2013, in Sydney Sun-Herald, The Age (Melbourne), The Canberra Times

Trouble inMind
Jenni Ogden
(Scribe, $29.95)
If you loved reading
the case histories
of Oliver Sacks, you’ll be similarly
engrossed by the tales told by
neuropsychologist Jenni Ogden.
The book explores 15 accounts of
brain injuries and disordersOgden
came across during her hospital
rounds. Patients include amanwho
has trouble speaking but can still
sing his favourite blues song, a
womanwith a ‘‘left visual field
defect’’who can only see the right
side of everything and anotherwho
feels dissociated fromhis body.A
fascinating insight intowhat can
happen after trauma to ‘‘that
squishy grey organ inside our
skulls’’. TO

4 star Review in Australia's Bookseller +Publisher

Losing your mind, that quintessential ‘me’, even partially, through trauma, disease or disorder, frightens most people. Trouble in Mind is a collection of stories about people who have suffered just that—losing part of their mind. The stories are from patients that the author, neuropsychologist Jenni Ogden, has worked with over her career in New Zealand, Australia and the US. Ten of the 15 patients portrayed in this book featured in Ogden’s 2005 textbook Fractured Minds. However, Trouble in Mind is not a textbook. Ogden’s stories clearly and succinctly explain the medical conditions, and engagingly present the human side of each case in an empathetic and nuanced style. Whether talking about patients with brain trauma from car or motorbike crashes, rugby-induced concussion or suffering from diseases such Parkinson’s and Huntingdon’s, Ogden covers the personal, social and family elements that are often missing in clinical-based nonfiction written by doctors. In this respect Ogden writes with feeling, like that of psychologist Oliver Sacks at his best. This is an eminently readable collection of stories recommended for readers with either a specific, perhaps personal, topic of interest, or those curious about how our minds work in general.

Reviewer: Kevin Orrman-Rossiter is a freelance science writer, journalist, editor and reviewer.

In the spirit of Oliver Sacks, Jenni Ogden takes us on a remarkable journey into the inner workings of the human brain. Her fascinating tales examine how we think, how we feel, and how we communicate with the world. Fascinating!
Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, is the bestselling author of MEDICINE IN TRANSLATION, and editor of THE BELLEVUE LITERARY REVIEW.

Like Oliver Sacks in THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT, Jenni Ogden introduces us to patients with neurological issues in TROUBLE IN MIND. Ogden creates characters who come to life like those in our favorite fiction, and shares with us the fascinating peculiarities of their brains. TROUBLE IN MIND is part science, part human interest, and 100 % terrific.
Ann Hood, is the bestselling author of THE KNITTING CIRCLE and THE RED THREAD

Ogden amazes us with the human brain and what we know about it so far - but more, she amazes us with her insight and her tender humanity. Ogden has the bedside manner we all long for from medical people. Warning – don’t read this book in public places, because you’ll be laughing and snorting and wiping away tears.
Dr. Sue Woolfe teaches creative writing at the University of Sydney, and is an award-winning novelist and author of THE SECRET CURE and THE MYSTERY OF THE CLEANING LADY: A WRITER LOOKS AT CREATIVITY AND NEUROSCIENCE.

TROUBLE IN MIND is a highly readable book that does double duty: It is ideal as an introductory text for undergraduates who are curious about neuropsychology, and for graduate students preparing for their first encounters with real patients. Its lively style and focus on the very human experiences of patients who have sustained brain damage and their often bewildered and distressed family members makes this book a fascinating set of tales for lay persons. Those who are curious about just what exactly does that gelatinous mass between our ears do will be rewarded with both knowledge about how the brain works and an empathetic understanding of how the disordered brain affects patients and their families, and its ripple effects on society.
The patients' stories Dr. Ogden chose from her case files relate the very varied consequences of the 13 most common brain disorders, told from a humanizing perspective. Following an introductory chapter, Dr. Ogden travels around the brain in 13 further chapters, each devoted to a different disorder, each with different origins, each involving different brain structures and processes, and each amenable or not to treatment. In the first two case-study chapters she relates the consequences of injury to the brain's left and right sides, introduces the reader to treatment possibilities, and to how cultural differences affect the understanding of and responses to brain dysfunction.
In the succeeding four chapters, Dr. Ogden visits specific areas of the brain, each necessary for normal functioning: frontal lobes for judgment, social understanding, self-appraisal, self-direction, and self-control; occipital lobes' contribution to visual perception and visual ideation; parietal lobes for sensory awareness and for both personal and extrapersonal spatial awareness; and memory and the temporal lobes. In each of the last seven chapters she relates stories of patients with specific brain disorders, beginning with epilepsy and concluding with three degenerative conditions: Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. All of the conditions dealt with in this book involve family and social relationships, but perhaps none so much as these three degenerative diseases, and severe brain injury which she tells about in the eleventh chapter.
So, besides being a good read about the world's most interesting topic--the human brain, the reader will gain a reliable foundation for understanding brain phenomena, both healthy and impaired. Enjoy and learn!
Muriel Lezak, Ph.D, is Professor Emerita of Neurology at the Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, and co-author of the bestselling text, NEUROPSYCHOLOGIOCAL ASSESSMENT.

The experience of caring for patients helps us learn more about these patients’ diseases than does just reading about these diseases in a text. In her new book, TROUBLE IN MIND, Jenni Ogden, one of the world’s premier neuropsychologists, shares her caring experiences, including her evaluation of patients who exhibited a rich variety of neurobehavioral disorders. In this book Dr. Ogden not only reveals the pathophysiology of these patients’ neuropsychological signs, but also portrays how these patient’s neurological diseases changed their lives. Reading these stories is like having actual clinical experiences and these experiences provide the reader with invaluable and indelible knowledge about brain function and dysfunction.
Kenneth M. Heilman M.D. Kenneth M. Heilman, MD, is the James E. Rooks Jr. Distinguished Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University if Florida College of Medicine, and co-author of the best selling text CLINICAL NEUROPSYCHOLOGY.

Readers will enjoy this book for several reasons. It is both scientific and practical and will appeal to academics and professionals engaged in the assessment and treatment of people with neuropsychological disorders. It also conveys the excitement of the detective work that goes into understanding the reasons behind those disorders. Jenni Ogden conveys her empathy and concern for individuals with aphasia, prosopagnosia, mind blindness, executive difficulties and other disorders associated with an insult or injury to the brain. Not only are readers given fascinating insights into some of the rare and more common disorders observed and treated by neuropsychologists but we are also provided with the moving personal stories behind the diagnoses. For example, as well as learning about the effects of Huntington’s Disease we are held emotionally by the author’s description of a daughter’s efforts to manage repercussions of this illness as experienced by her father and brothers; or, in the case of the woman who is trying to manage her life whilst on anticonvulsant medication, the reader is caught up in the dilemma caused by her wish to get pregnant. The strength of this book is that it reaches into deep levels associated with personal diagnosis and treatment and at the same time covers a very wide range of emotional and social consequences. Both students and experienced neuropsychologists will be spellbound.
Barbara A. Wilson, Ph.D, ScD, OBE, is Founder of the Oliver Zangwill Centre for Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, Ely, Cambridgeshire, UK, author of "MEMORY REHABILITATION: INTEGRATING THEORY AND PRACTICE and editor of the journal NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL REHABILITATION.

Jenni Ogden brilliantly illustrates the role of clinician as detective, delving into the worlds of neurological patients to reveal the mysteries and vulnerabilities of the human brain. She combines the expertise of a neuroscientist, the insight of a psychologist, and the eye of a novelist. The book is wonderfully accessible to anyone interested in how the brain works, and should be required reading for both students and established professionals.
Michael Corballis, Ph.D, is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Auckland, and author of "THE RECURSIVE MIND: THE ORIGINS OF HUMAN LANGUAGE, THOUGHT, AND CIVILIZATION and FROM HAND TO MOUTH: THE ORIGINS OF LANGUAGE.

A practical and insightful book on how various types of brain disorders actually affect people and their families. Using the case study method and her years of clinical experience, Dr. Ogden provides excellent descriptions of patients who experience some of the classic syndromes associated with know brain disorders. The book has many valuable lessons to teach neuropsychologists concerning issues of assessment, rehabilitation, and how to meaningfully interact with patients. It provides a level of clinical insight often not adequately described in traditional textbooks in clinical neuropsychology.
George Prigatano, Ph.D., holds the Newsome Chair, Department of Clinical Neuropsychology Barrow Neurological Institute, and is the author of PRINCIPLES OF NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL REHABILITATION and THE STUDY OF ANOSOGNOSIA.

TROUBLE IN MIND highlights the unique contributions that clinical neuropsychologists make to uncovering the specific cognitive and emotional deficits borne by patients with neurological or psychiatric disorders. Ogden’s case studies, the product of three decades of hands-on clinical experience, are insightful, entertaining, and informative. This engaging introduction to human brain function—normal and abnormal—will captivate the general reader and inspire students of neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience in their quest to understand the links between the brain and behavior.
Suzanne Corkin, Ph.D. is Professor of Behavorial Neuroscience, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.

This excellent book combines Ogden's renowned skills as an observer of important neuropsychological phenomena with a novelist's descriptive touch. She has produced a casebook that will fascinate at the same time as it educates. A superb achievement!
Michael Kopelman. Ph.D., Professor of Neuropsychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, co-author of LISHMAN'S ORGANIC PSYCHIATRY: A TEXTBOOK OF NEUROPSYCHIATRY.

Jenni Ogden's latest collection of neuropsychological case stories is full of insight and empathy. She is an engaging writer with the skill to move as well as inform. Her narratives illuminate the lives and troubled minds of a well-chosen variety of cases from 'HM', the most intensively researched patient in the history of neuropsychology, to 'ordinary' people with 'ordinary' neurological conditions. The message, ultimately, is that when it comes to the workings of our fragile brains, nothing is ordinary.
Paul Broks, PhD., teaches clinical neuropsychology at Plymouth Unversity, UK, and is the best-selling author of INTO THE SILENT LAND.