Laurel's Reviews > The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
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's review
Jun 11, 09

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, memoir

This is one of those books where the story behind the story was more interesting to me than the book itself. For those who don't know, Jean-Dominique Bauby (the former editor-in-chief of French Elle, had a stroke in his mid 40's that left him with a body entirely paralyzed but a mind fully intact. This is referred to as locked-in syndrome, a condition that, in the author's words, is "like a mind in a jar."

The one part of his body that Bauby could move was his left eyelid. Remarkably, he was able to use this single movement to communicate. As a special alphabet was dictated to him, Bauby blinked when he heard the letter he wanted to convey. In this way, slowly and patiently, letters became words, then sentences, and ultimately ended in this memoir.

This in and of itself makes me want to give his book a 5 star rating, as the fact it is even in existence is extraordinary. But, while the book is well-written, there just lacked a sense of real introspection that I had been expecting. It left me wishing he had let us in to his thoughts a bit more deeply than he did. Still, absolutely worth the read.
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Ashy I just finished this, and I agree with you Laurel. I enjoyed it, but was expecting more depth. It was moving though, and a remarkable feat.

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