This was my pick for psychology. Not having a background in the field and lacking familiarity with the associated jargon, I was hoping to find a book that was pretty accessible to “everybody else”. While Sacks has a tendency to throw names of disorders and other words around like I am supposed to know what they mean, for the most part this book still fit that bill. The more necessary terms were explained in detail, and when all is said and done, this book is less about the disorders and more about the actual patients who suffered from them.
The book is broken into four parts: Losses, Excesses, Transports, and the World of the Simple. The first two were the more interesting to me as they focus on patients dealing with problems you very rarely hear about, such as the sudden lack of ability to recognize your own body, or to even move it. The story that stood out the most to me was “The Disembodied Lady” about a young woman who suddenly lost her proprioception, or body-sense.
Sacks has occasionally been criticized for using his patients to make him famous, in one case being referred to as “the man who mistook his patients for a literary career” by disability rights activist Tom Shakespeare. I feel like he approaches the cases with both the clinical eye and a deeper sense of humanity as well. His insights on the musical and artistic side of the brain was also fascinating, and helped make contact with those human beings who were suffering from a very wide range of illnesses and disorders.
This post has been a part of my Read the Store Challenge for 2014.
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