Jean-Dominique Bauby’s book, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly turned out to be a diamond in the rough among the pile of books lying by my bed. A collection of short stories by ex-ELLE magazine editor-in-chief turned victim of locked in syndrome, Mr. Bauby’s words provide the reader with poetic insight into life following a massive stroke.
The first thing that screams from its pages is how the author wrote each of his short stories by dictating them letter for letter. Literally. After suffering a massive stroke, Jean-Dominique was left completely paralyzed physically, yet fully functioning mentally. The only part on his body that he could move with any amount of control was his left eye. Not only desperately wanting to communicate with those around him, but also help others to understand his personal plight, Mr. Bauby devised a way to release his thoughts using the French alphabet– one blink at a time.
There are two things that have stayed with me after reading this book. One: how the human spirit, even within the throes of a life-altering tragedy, can still carry on seeing beauty in the world; and two: that if someone is able to blink their way to authorship, why the hell am I so afraid to give it a go?
If you want a fast read that will inject more beauty and appreciation to your world, pick this one up – you won’t be disappointed.
Next up on the book shelf: Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs