Aaron Gertler's Reviews > Two Arms and a Head: The Death of a Newly Paraplegic Philosopher

Two Arms and a Head by Clayton Atreus
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it was amazing

Someone with nothing to hide writes honestly about his experience.*

His experience is horrible, and he ends his life at the end of this book/essay/memoir. He never tries to cover the despair with any kind of silver lining; he calmly explains over and over again that the things he cares about most were taken away from him and will never be restored. The writing is raw, bitter, often seething with contempt, and also brilliant:

"I am Horowitz with no fingers. Phiddipides with no legs, Shakespeare with no pen. Michelangelo with no chisel or paintbrush. I am not what I am."

Atreus' experience may be highly atypical among people with disabilities, but it is still his experience, and I suspect that a perspective like his would be difficult to find in any published book.

"I cannot understand what is happening to me because so many things in my brain are dying off and disappearing all the time. A vast number of habits. Skills. Rehearsed, ingrained behaviors that have had their patterns laid down in the brain since childhood. Left to atrophy and disappear from my brain forever. My behaviors, personality, slowly being decimated. Slowly, surely, huge parts of me dying off and I will never even be aware of a great deal of it. Is it reassuring that I will never even realize it, or is it terrifying?"

This is a tragic story. Nothing about it is pleasant to read even for a moment. I'm still glad I made it to the end.

*As far as I can tell; I haven't been able to verify the author's identity, and almost nothing has been written online about the story.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
August 16, 2018 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 2: by Nicole M (new)

Nicole M Hi I am Clayton’s cousin and can absolutely verify his identity, story, and true to the book passing. He had a blog which follows his initial motorcycle ride that is still active you can find online.

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