Posts Tagged ‘Jean Dominique Bauby’

I nearly missed this post as I was choosing wedding flowers – the book this week is one that reminds you to seize the day and that seems a good message for me now…

This week I picked another book I bought for a charity fundraiser – The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly, by Jean Dominique Bauby.  I had heard of this book before, but never intended to read it, and then it was there in front of me and the moment seemed right.

The book is a memoir of sorts, covering the thoughts and experiences of Bauby as he comes to terms with his life following a stroke. The stroke left him with Locked-in Syndrome, so he could only communicate through the use of one eye.

I spent the first part of the book wondering how such a detailed story was told when his ability to communicate was so impaired, and I was impressed by the ingenuity and tenacity required by Bauby and his support team when the conditions unfolded.

The most powerful elements of the book were those when Bauby explored his feelings about his situation, and how it came to pass: the reflections on his previous life served as a comparison but did not make me feel I knew him at all.  In some respects they were too far removed from my own normality, and in some respects I was only interested in his new phase of life, because I wanted to understand how he came to perceive the world.  How many other people in the same situation will ever get a book published as a result?  I wanted as much detail as possible, to understand the condition as much as possible.

The book made me consider how much of life we take for granted, and how we assume we will all carry on eating, drinking, talking and watching tv when we really have no idea how our life will pan out.  It made me philosophical.

I don’t really know whether to recommend the book, or if I’ll read it again – it is short, due I suspect to the painfully slow method of dictating it, but it stretches out even after I’ve closed the cover.  If it stays too long I might wish I hadn’t read it, but if it doesn’t stay with me, I will have lost something important.

Happy reading,




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