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You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know: A True Story of Family, Face Blindness, and Forgiveness
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You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know: A True Story of Family, Face Blindness, and Forgiveness

3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  1,620 ratings  ·  355 reviews

An unusual and uncommonly moving family memoir, with a twist that give new meaning to hindsight, insight, and forgiveness.

Heather Sellers is face-blind-that is, she has prosopagnosia, a rare neurological condition that prevents her from reliably recognizing people's faces. Growing up, unaware of the reason for her perpetual confusion and anxiety, she took what cues she

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ebook, 368 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Riverhead Books
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Stephanie
Prosopagnosia, or face blindness, is a condition that prevents people who have it from remembering faces. They can see faces and the individual features just fine.....but they just can't recall them.

The first time I heard of this was on an episode of Radiolab and was astounded to learn one of my favorite artists, Chuck Close, who is known for his larger than life size PORTRAITS, is profoundly face blind.

What??

I am no where near Chuck's level, but I am a portrait artist and I just couldn't wrap
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Laura
I don't know if this is really a 5 star book as far as the writing goes, but reading it was like getting religion. People really can't understand what I'm talking about when I tell them that I don't recognize faces (though Sellers' wording is even better - I don't RELIABLY recognize faces), so it is wonderful to read from someone who understands.

Our backgrounds couldn't be more different, but our prosopagnostic experiences are almost eerily similar. For example, when you tell someone you can't
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Cheryl
*3.5 stars*

Imagine your friend, significant other, or family member. Now imagine not being able to recognize that person if they're in the middle of a group, or on the street. This is the face blindness (or prosopagnosia) that Heather Sellers deals with daily. It is a rare neurological condition that makes face recognition unreliable. She could walk up to someone who was not her friend, or look right at her friend and walk on by. Unbelievable right?

It seems hard to understand until you read this
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Ciara
i honestly didn't know how to rate this book. on a more charitable day, i might have given it a four. i have read heather's books about writing, & while they are practically identical to natalie goldberg's hippie-dippy new age school of writing instruction, they were okay. her writing style itself didn't really appeal to me, but i wouldn't say it's bad.

i kind of think her loosey-goosey free associative style worked better in this memoir than it does in her writing guides. but it still wasn'
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Leigh Hancock
The amazing thing about Heather Sellers is not that she has prosopagnosia, i.e.,face blindness, but rather that it took her almost four decades to realize the fact. Not that anything else in her childhood was normal: her mother was a schizophrenic who made her children walk around their apartment on their knees (try it--it's kinda fun for about 3 minutes) and her alcoholic father dyed his hair "into a frizzy golden Afro" and banged on the table, yelling, "Classified! Classified!" when asked a qu ...more
Sila
Prosop-agnosia: face agnostic, face doubter. When I read the inside cover and heard this word the first time, I didn't think I would be able to spell it myself. After reading Heather Sellers's story though, I became quite acquainted with both the word and what it really means. I think she does a great job of explaining this hard-to-describe face recognition problem. I'm sure reading her struggles would help people in similar conditions. She starts telling her story from when she was a kid in a h ...more
Tara Chevrestt
I just didn't like this much at all. I thought it was about a woman with prosopagnosia (face blindness) and her discovering her illness and dealing with it. Only about a quarter of the memoir is about her and her face blindness. The rest of it is all about her extremely nutty mother, very nutty father, and even her married family is kind of nutty. Her husband is attracked to nutty women and her stepson behaves very strangely at Disney World and refuses to bathe till he smells like a fish.

Even t
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Susan
“My gosh in heaven,” Heather Sellers has a strange family.

Prosopagnosia is an inability to recognize people by their faces, perhaps not as rare as once thought. The author struggled with the disorder long before she knew that such a thing even existed, certainly before she knew that she had the disorder. Coming from a highly dysfunctional family with a (denied) history of mental illness, Heather Sellers thought that maybe she was just crazy.

Her memoir is heartfelt, informative, and interesting.
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Lisa
This book reminded me of The Glass Castle, in that Heather Sellers endured a childhood with dysfunctional parents attempting to raise her. Like the Glass Castle, I was surprised & impressed by her ability to express her love (numerous times) for her parents. In some ways, I wanted & expected her to resent her family, because that's how disgusted I felt about her parent's behavior. Disgusted!

While the core of this book was sad & depressing, I think it has to be in order to convey the
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T. Edmund
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this piece, and I confess that upon beginning I thought the same thing that Seller's questioner did: "How can this be true? Its far too raw."

Yet there is something undeniably real about Seller's memoir. For a work that is so totally comsumed by disease the two main focuses are whether the mother has schizohprenia, then the whole 'face-blindness' thing, there is a strong feeling of uplift, and dark humourous side than propel one through this book.

The story
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Harkinna
WOW! Ok, this book will blow your mind. Mrs. Sellers is face blind. That means that she cannot recognize people by their face. No, it’s not that she has problems remembering names. That is not the problem. In fact she is good at remembering names. She can’t remember faces. This is a problem only 100 people have. She is one of them. Her mom is schizophrenic and she has some other issues too, but, the lead as the say, is that she is face blind.

We have all met people like this I bet. I have a woma
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Amy
"Prosopagnosia" is a condition that author Heather Sellers has, wherein she is unable to recognize faces. (At first I thought, lucky her! There are faces I'd love to forget!) She isn't diagnosed until her late20s and into her 30s, and so the difficulties she had prior to that she attributed to some sort of 'craziness' on her part. She didn't know what was wrong because it was all she knew. It meant that at times, she didn't recognize family members or friends, even up close. Instead she recogniz ...more
Laurie
Reading about Heather Sellers childhood is like reading an account of time spent in a war zone; her mother is an untreated (and undiagnosed) paranoid schizophrenic who makes everyone walk on their knees to protect the carpet, nails the windows shut and is convinced that the TV takes in information about them and her father is a raging alcoholic who never seems to think about anyone but himself. Sellers bounces back and forth between the two, trying to look normal at school and all the while thin ...more
Jourdan
I don't even know where to begin. I feel like I'd have to read this book three more times to even start understanding all that it contains. Mental illness, relationships, science, love, overcoming childhood-- these are just a few of the main topics covered by Heather Sellers in this incredibly rich and often disturbing memoir.

I'd heard of prosopagnosia (face blindness) before; a college roommate as well as another friend had both (suffered from? dealt with?) it, and I was familiar enough with it
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K
I got about a quarter of the way through this book before deciding that I just couldn't do it any more. Heather Sellers, who suffers prosopagnosia (inability to recognize faces), grew up in a family that makes jeanette walls's look merely eccentric. Not being a fan of The Glass Castle, I found the dysfunction here even more difficult to stomach (mother seems to have been an undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenic; father was an alcoholic cross-dresser; Heather bounced back and forth between their two ...more
Marca
This is an interesting book with great information about a condition I recently learned about in a novel. People with Prosopagnosia have difficulty recognizing faces. An example I’ve heard is to look at a bouquet of red roses. Then give each rose a name then separate the bouquet and try to find each rose by its name. This is an autobiography so the story is the author’s. If Prosopagnosia were her only issue, this would be a different book. But the author Heather grew up in crazy town. Her mother ...more
Julie
I thought the premise of this memoir sounded interesting, like it would be a blend of the dysfunctional family of Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle and the author’s account of her strange neurological disorder like Daniel Tammet’s Born on a Blue Day. However, it completely lacked the humor of Walls and the insightfulness of Tammet. Right away I felt I was thrust into the middle of Seller’s own self-pity party. She overanalyzes everything from her relationship to her fiancé turned husband and hi ...more
Tim Lowe

When you read as many books as most book bloggers do, it is a real pleasure when one exceeds expectations and knocks your socks off....

I just finished Heather Sellers' book YOU DON'T LOOK LIKE ANYONE I KNOW: A True Story of Family, Face Blindness and Forgiveness (Riverhead Books/Penguin) and I am sockless. My expectation going in was that it would be a nice, informational memoir that would explain face blindness in a little more detail. What I got was an amazingly personal, honest and unforgetta
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Jenifer
I spent a great deal of this book highly irritated with the author. She seemed completely clueless about her parents' mental illnesses and her own personal issues (like a dysfunctional marriage to an alcoholic who went to AA but could still drink two beers and be ok). Perhaps I am jaded by own personal experiences having a mentally ill father. I just couldn't wrap my brain around the idea that she was so utterly unaware of issues that seemed so obvious. There seemed to be a family propensity tow ...more
Holly Weiss
Rollercoaster Read Requires Realistic Review
(3 1/2 stars)

Prepare yourself for sorrow and stark reality in You Don’t Look like Anyone I Know. Illness propels this memoir, but the author’s self-discovery of her face blindness and demands that her neurologist properly diagnose her far outweighed any disquietude experienced by this reader.

Coping with face blindness, the inability to recognize faces reliably seemed to me a secondary theme of this incredible memoir. Ms. Sellers’ real triumph was surv
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Deb
I picked up this book because I have trouble recognizing people, particularly when they are "out of context". I work on a college campus and many times someone will greet me by name and they look familiar to me but I don't know who they are. It's worse when someone I know from one place, like work, greets me in another place, like a store. I believe that everyone everywhere should wear name tags all the time.

But, as it turns out, I am not face blind like the author of this memoir. Thank goodness
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Macie
I heard Heather Sellers on NPR a few months ago and was fascinated by her story of discovering she has "face blindness" and can't recognize anyone, including her husband, without clues like gait and hairstyle. Her less-than-ideal upbringing by parents with severe mental health and substance abuse issues prevents her from discovering she has a neurological condition until she is well into adulthood. The book outlines her experiences from childhood through adulthood and is a good reminder to treat ...more
Mirkat
Prosopagnosia is the medical name for face blindness, though, as Heather Sellers explains in her memoir, people with this condition have no trouble seeing a face. The problem is the inability to remember those facial features and access those memories the next time the features present themselves. Sellers shares a fascinating account of a life in which she had persistent trouble with social interactions because so many people just look alike. It was not until she was well into adulthood that she ...more
Dianne
This is Heather Sellers' true story of growing up with prosopagnosia, or face blindness, a rare neurological condition that keeps her from recognizing faces. It's a difficult condition to explain to people because it isn't consistent; she may or may not recognize a face at any given time. She knew growing up that something was wrong, but didn't get an actual diagnosis until well into adulthood.

She describes it as taking a handful of stones, naming them, throwing them back among the thousands of
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Dolly
This is an interesting memoir and account of a woman's life with prosopagnosia. The story is engaging and it's a quick read. Many of the characters are quite disturbing and I couldn't help think that I was fortunate to have grown up in a 'normal' family. I appreciate the author's openness and frank way that she revealed her most frightening thoughts and fears. I also like that she is willing to offer her story in the hopes of helping others. Overall, I thought this was a compelling story and a f ...more
Cindy
I have a mild form of face blindness myself, which is what drew me to the subject matter of this book. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this reading experience. There was the chaotic and difficult childhood (to which I can relate and which is always a major draw for me in any memoir), the exploration of face blindness (an issue which until this book was almost entirely missing from cultural discussion), and the clear, honest and highly entertaining writing style of the author. Ms. Sellers ha ...more
Stephanie
I just finished this book, and I want to open it right back up to the first page and start again. I had Heather Sellers as a writing professor at Hope, so it was fun for me to read the scenes that are set on campus and in my hometown of Holland, plus the fact that I have heard her Southern-accented voice explain her face blindness to a class made it especially easy to "hear" her voice in my head as the book went on. Though her journey to discovering that she has such an unusual neurological cond ...more
Catherine
Sellers cannot recognize faces. Her condition, prosopagnosia, forces her to try to identify people by other characteristics: voice, hairstyle, gait, mannerisms. Quite often she doesn’t recognize her own family. It’s a complicated subject and one that I found highly interesting to learn about.

Sellers writes about her face blindness but also details her troubled upbringing by her dysfunctional with a capital “D” parents. Her father is an alcoholic and her mother suffers from mental illness. Due to
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Elaine
Parts of this book--particularly those having to do with face blindness--were fascinating; others were disturbing. I found descriptions of the author's severely dysfunctional parents and her roller-coaster relationships with them difficult to bear. The parents were sometimes reminiscent of those in The Glass Castle (a better-written and more entertaining book, though this book is not meant to be entertaining). I considered giving the book 4 stars but didn't because it needed tighter writing and/ ...more
Linda
This book was definitely a page turner. It is a true story of a women with an unusual and mostly unheard of neurological condition that causes her to not recognize people. It is her story about growing up in a disfunctional family and her journey in realizing that there was something different about her. But, it also is about overcoming a bad things that occur in life and not blaming others, especially her parents. In the end, she acknowledged her love for them and her elation of finally being d ...more
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Heather Sellers has a PhD in English/Creative Writing from Florida State University. She’s a professor of English at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, where she teaches poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction writing courses. She won an NEA grant for fiction and her first book of fiction, Georgia Under Water, was part of the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers program.
More about Heather Sellers...
Page After Page: Discover the Confidence & Passion You Need to Start Writing & Keep Writing (No Matter What!) Chapter After Chapter: Discover the Dedication & Focus You Need to Write the Book of Your Dreams The Practice of Creative Writing: A Guide for Students Georgia Under Water: Stories Drinking Girls and Their Dresses

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“I think everyone has one day like this, and some people have more than one. It's the day of the accident, the midlife crisis, the breakdown, the meltdown, the walkout, the sellout, the giving up, giving away, or giving in. The day you stop drinking, or the day you start. The day you know things will never be the same again.” 13 likes
“Schizophrenia is without a doubt the most dreaded psychological disorder. If depression is the common cold of psychological disorders, schizophrenia is the cancer.” The cancer.” 4 likes
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