K's Reviews > You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know

You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know by Heather Sellers
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's review
Feb 06, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: audiobooks, memoirs, couldntfinish, intense-sad-dark-or-bleak
Recommended to K by: MAP

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 houses and did not receive anything resembling normal parenting from either of them). It's terribly sad (assuming it's not exaggerated, which is always a question in today's age of memoir skepticism), and pretty awful to read about.

In addition to being a heavy and depressing experience, though, this book was just plain confusing. For starters, the writing was disjointed -- surprisingly uneven and disorganized for a writing professor. Many detailed anecdotes (Heather and her stepsons at the beach, for instance) were told in excruciating detail for no apparent reason -- they didn't add to the story. Additionally, although Heather mentions a brother, the story is told as if she grew up alone. A perusal of other goodreads reviews told me she was apparently protecting her brother's privacy by not writing about him which is certainly legitimate, but it was a bit weird to have him there yet not there. Even more confusing, though, was the length of time it seemed to take Heather to realize that her parents were not the type you can easily introduce to your prospective husband and stepsons. For an adult woman who's obviously intelligent and successful to build up her stepsons' expectations by describing her unfortunate mother as thrilled to become a grandmother seemed a bizarre choice. I hate to sound judgmental, but how far can denial go already?

I was hoping for more on the prosopagnosia, but found it difficult to get through this yet-another-top-this-one!-dysfunctional-childhood memoir in order to get there. And from the goodreads reviews I read, the prosopagnosia is a more peripheral part of the book in any case. I'd probably be better off reading Oliver Sacks. So off this one goes to the growing "couldn't finish" pile.
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Reading Progress

02/21/2016 marked as: couldntfinish

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Jane (new)

Jane A friend gave this 4 stars so I was considering reading it but I think your review saved me from another dud. Thank you! I'm ready for a fun and light book. Any suggestions?

message 2: by K (new) - rated it 1 star

K Good to hear, Jane! Actually, it's harder for me to confidently recommend a light and fun book than a more serious one. Very often, one person's light and fun is another person's over the top. But I'll go over my humorous shelf and see if any titles speak to me as worth recommending.

message 3: by K (new) - rated it 1 star

K Okay, Jane - here are two light and fun books I feel I can recommend. One is "Flavor of the Month" by Olivia Goldsmith - trashy but really fun. Another is "The Thin Woman" by Dorothy Cannell - the first in a cute mystery series that's a little light on mystery but charming in my opinion.

message 4: by Jane (new)

Jane Thank you Khaya! I don't usually enjoy mysteries but now that I think of it, I realized that it is specifically murder mysteries that I don't like, so I will give "The Thin Woman" a try. I agree that it can be hard to recommend this type of book but somehow I am confident in your suggestions! I just got it from the library and I'm relieved that I'm no longer bookless!

message 5: by K (new) - rated it 1 star

K Thanks for your confidence, Jane! I hope you like the book. If you do, you may enjoy the others in the series as well. One of my favorites was Mum's the Word. They're kind of silly but I find them fun.

message 6: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan I love Oliver Sacks's books, and he did suffer from this condition. I haven't read that book yet though.

message 7: by K (new) - rated it 1 star

K It was a long time ago, but I definitely think Oliver Sacks is a more worthwhile read.

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