Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Review: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

By Jean-Dominique Bauby
Memoir
1997

My Synopsis

While editor-in-chief of the French Elle magazine, 43-year-old Jean-Dominique Bauby, father of two young children, had a rare type of stroke to the brain stem that allowed him to think clearly but otherwise left him paralyzed and unable to speak. By blinking his only functional eye, he wrote this book which tells of what it's like to be a prisoner in the most unimaginable way.

My Thoughts

While reading each word, I couldn't get out of my mind the laborious task of writing an entire book by blinking, which probably made me like it even more.

Bauby accepts his fate with unbelievable dignity and hope. His writing, as "dictated" to his assistant, is witty yet emotional.

Hunched in my wheelchair, I watch my children surreptitiously as their mother
pushes me down the hospital corridor. While I have become something of a
zombie father, Theophile and Celeste are very much flesh and blood, energetic
and noisy. I will never tire of seeing them walk alongside me, just
walking, their confident expressions masking the unease weighing on their small
shoulders. As he walks, Theophile dabs with a Kleenex at the thread of
saliva escaping my closed lips.
Sadly, Jean-Dominique Bauby died two days after the French publication of the book. What a beautiful memory to leave to his children.

This book was made into a movie, which I have not seen but would like to.

Do I Recommend?

Yes. Short (132 pages) and easy to read.

Source

Library

My Rating

4/5 (I enjoyed it)

Other reviews

Bookopolis
Book Reviews by Bobbie
A Novel Menagerie
Books on the Brain
Hey Lady, Whatcha Readin?
Books I Done Read

Has anyone else read this book or plan to and/or did you see the movie?

4 comments:

Lynne said...

Sorry for the formatting; not sure why it did that :)

Nise' said...

Wow! sounds like a wonderful book.

Jenners said...

I cannot even comprehend writing a book in that way. And I do remember hearing about this movie when it came out. Sounds like such a sad story ... but like you said, a wonderful legacy for his children.

Tina said...

I read this last year, and like you, I was in awe of how it had to be written so painstakingly. I still have it on my list of top 10 lifetime reads. A beautiful little book, good to return to once a year or so.

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