Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly- Jean-Dominique Bauby

Well hello there,
What's this an actual book review? Holy hellfire it cannot be!
That's right I actually read a book, but don't get your hopes too high 'cause this was a book that I read for Neuropsychology. That said, I think this book is a pretty interesting read no matter who you are. This book is a very quick read, with very short chapters, and there is a very good reason for that because it's written by a guy with locked-in syndrome.

Locked-in syndrome for any of you who don't know is a very rare possible consequence of a stroke. It leaves your mind completely intact but you are almost completely paralysed. Jean-Dominique was the editor in chief of the French magazine Elle. That in itself is a pretty scary thought, I don't know about you but I think we humans have a tendency to assume really horrific things like this only happen to old people and not really successful people in their forties.
If your anything like me your probably wondering how a completely paralysed man managed to write a book. Jean-Dominique woke up in a hospital and was completely paralysed except from one eye. During the course of the book he manages to gain very slight movement of his head with physiotherapy, but he still can't so much as turn the television on an off so how did he manage to write a book?
Well, he took the most important letters of the alphabet and rearranged them in order of frequency. (He is French so these are the most important letters in the French language.) His visitors would let go through every letter and he would blink when they reached the right letter. This is the very laborious process that he went through to write the book.

The book itself is a very interesting read, it basically follows his thoughts as he's stuck in hospital unable to do anything, unable to live his life. There are glimpses at what his life was like before the stroke, a visit from his kids at the hospital and in general just his day to day struggles living, essentially, without a life.

I would definitely recommend this to everyone, it's a very quick and easy read about possibly the worst thing that could ever happen to you.

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