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GROUP READS > The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales

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message 1: by SRC Moderator (new)

SRC Moderator | 5366 comments Mod
This is the discussion thread for the Summer 2018 Group Read The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales. Please post your comments here. This thread is not restricted to those choosing this book for task 20.10, feel free to join in the discussion. Warning- spoilers ahead!

The requirement for task 20.10: You must participate in the book's discussion thread below with at least one post about the contents of the book or your reaction to the book after you have read the book.


message 2: by Bridgit (new)

Bridgit | 515 comments So, I've had this book on my To Read list for a few years now, mostly because of the recommendation of Patrick Rothfuss. I have to say that it started off great, I really enjoyed reading about the first, titular case and a few of the next ones in the Losses section.

After that though, I was just bored. I didn't find the cases as interesting, perhaps because they were not so shocking? It was also very jarring reading about medical professionals 40 - 50 years ago calling patients 'idiots' and other offensive terms. I realize that things were different then, but it is hard to read now.

I did enjoy reading a few cases in the last section, particularly the Twins and the Autist Artist.

In the end, this was kind of painful to get through. Not something I would recommend, but I realize I was probably not the right audience.


message 3: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie | 371 comments Ooooookay, so I was pretty disappointed with this read. I have a degree in psychology and nursing so I was expecting this to be a slam dunk as I am very interested in all things to do with the human body and brain.

It was really boring though. I enjoyed the first section that talked about 'deficits' but it kind of went downhill for me after that. It read like a research paper, with Sacks saying what he would be talking about in the text. I think my main problem was that my expectations were not met. I don't know what I thought was going to happen, but that wasn't it.

I also think this book is dated. Everything that was cited was from the early 20th century and even some things were as early as the late 19th century. I just think so many interesting things have happened since this was published in the 80s. I assume this was a really fascinating thing to read at the time though.

I am not turned off of Sacks forever, but I will say I am glad I found this for two bucks at a library book sale.


message 4: by Debra (new)

Debra | 126 comments This book has been on my TBR for awhile now. I can't remember what prompted me to add it, other than my interest in the brain and behavior.

Like others, I was disappointed by this book. To some degree, all the cases seemed similar and repetitive. I've also decided it's not that enjoyable to be to read dated science books. I will probably stick to more current ones in the future.


message 5: by Diana (new)

Diana Keener | 799 comments I was expecting something different from this book than what it turned out to be. I thought there would be more insight into how the people in these different cases felt and reacted to their condition instead of the rather dry descriptions that were given. So overall it was a disappointing read.


message 6: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 1440 comments I chose this solely because I have already read Dark Matter and My Cousin Rachel.

I liked some of the stories, bored with others, and felt, as others pointed out, the book was rather dated. I would also like to think that caregivers treat and talk with more respect to their patients today. I have little hope.

To finish, I want the twins brought back together, and someone to get the Autistic Artist (forgot her name) painting again. The more painful stories (for me) were left at the end.


message 7: by Bianca (new)

Bianca Rose (biancarose) | 249 comments Readerboard name: witchygal.

I don't really have too much to add to the previous reviews. Similar to Stephanie, I have a degree in Psychology and have had this book on my TBR list for ages. I was so excited to read about the different conditions and the people behind the conditions. But I was disappointed by most of the stories. I found that with the exclusion of the last section (Simple Minds), the stories did not focus enough on the individual and how the disorder impacted their lives. I also felt like the way he wrote did not reveal the individual personalities of the patients. They all seemed to sound the same. I think that I underestimated how long ago Sacks was practicing medicine. Language and patient care has significantly changed since the 1970/ 1980's. I found that I was flinching at the words "idiot", "moron" & "retard". So different to how we talk today. Overall, I was disappointed in the read but most likely because I had my hopes set way to high.


message 8: by Donna (new)

Donna | 1272 comments Like Deborah, I too read this one by default since I had already read the other two. When I saw messages of how disappointed readers were, I wobbled for minute. I almost switched books.

I walked into this with absolutely no expectations ... at all. So with that, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as awful as I thought. I gave this 3 stars. I liked the cases, I just wish the people afflicted were highlighted as a person and not merely as a medical case only.


message 9: by Celeste (last edited Aug 07, 2018 07:33PM) (new)

Celeste (celesteryr) | 373 comments CelesteR

I loved how he tied in the whole medical genre and types of publication into the beginning. I will say that I was startled how abruptly he would end a story and the bits of humor were as subtle and as quick as the British can get. That made it 4 STARS.

Once while researching one of Freud's case study for school, I came across an vivid description of a patient and the process the doctor went under to discover their condition. I was amazed at how characteristic the writing was and even more amazed this was published in a British medical journal.
I had always thought that the sciences were, while enchanting, boring to the common person that does not have the background knowledge on that exact subject. But of course that is not true, my own mother regales dinner guests with discoveries she made, and her own faults and lessons along the way.
What I love is the fact that I'm not the only one who are scared, but can't bear to look away from these reports. The New York Times Magazine now has a section dedicated to the discoveries to strange medical phenomenon, which now gives me more of a voyeuristic view of somebody's life along with the Ethicist.


message 10: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 1415 comments I've actually read this before but as I had recently read My Cousin Rachel and I didn't get through more than a few pages of the first book by Blake Crouch that I tried to read I went back to this book by default.

I had the same feelings about it on my reread as I did the first time around - I enjoyed reading about the cases (although they are a little dated now as has been commented on) but the more technical writing in between bored me.


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