Jan C's Reviews > The Man Who Forgot How To Read

The Man Who Forgot How To Read by Howard Engel
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's review
Dec 31, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: biography, canada
Read from January 06 to December 31, 2011

Pretty amazing story.

What happens to a writer who suddenly learns that he can't read. One morning he gets up, picks up the paper and determines that it must be printed in a foreign language. It is subsequently determined that he had a stroke and was left with alexia - the ability to write but no longer able to read.

"When my mind froze up, writing can only be compared to trying to move a ton of raw liver uphill by hand."

Engel is a mystery writer and wonders how he is going to be able to earn a living if he can't read what he has written.

I thought his description of the time in the rehab center was excellent. How he learned to start finding his way around again, going to the grocery, going on a walk and being able to find his way back.

He was able to write a mystery story putting his protagonist, Bennie Cooperman, in the hospital. Not sure if he gave him alexia or not but did give him some form of mental illness or brain damage (probably temporary) and he has to resolve a mystery while in the hospital.

He apparently still has some problems but they are getting better and he is working with them.

And, Oliver Sacks wrote an afterword. Not sure if Engel was just told aobut Sacks or if he had known about him before his stroke. But somewhere in this process he wrote Sacks a letter and eventually went to visit him. Sacks also wrote an afterword for the mystery story, Memory Book: A Benny Cooperman Detective Novel.
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Reading Progress

6.0% "Big surprise! It takes place in St. Catherine's. I used to have relatives there."
27.0% "This is frightening. Some of the things a stroke can do to you. Make it so you can't read but could still write!"
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