Saturday, January 24, 2009

Another Day, Another Book Review

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (MTI) (Vintage International) The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby

rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was really impressed with this book. It is a little on the slim side, but I can understand that when the guy had to write it with one eye. There was actually a chapter in the book that described how this worked. One of his therapists taught him a new alphabet; this one ordered by how often the letter is used in the French language. The person communicating with the author would read through that version of the alphabet until Bauby signaled that the speaker had reached the desired letter. This would have been painfully slow, something he bemoaned in retelling a conversation with his son. The pace of communicating just killed all attempts at humor.

There's a beauty in this book that makes up for the fact that the story of his life as a quadriplegic is minimalist at best. Despite being obviously written in prose, this book comes off more like poetry. I got the feeling of being inside the mostly inert body with Bauby without always knowing all of the details of his life. Just be aware that, unless you're a slow reader, you could very well finish this book in the span of a lazy afternoon. It's definitely worth the time spent, though.


Julie said...

You've been busy lately - either reading or writing reviews - I'm not sure. I've also heard the movie about the book is really good.

Courtney said...

I also enjoyed this book. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie.