Books - The Diving-bell and the Butterfly
The Diving-bell and the Butterfly
By Jean-Dominique Bauby
This was the saddest book that I can remember reading since Charlotte’s Web. It is so well written and Jean-Do so much avoids pulling the obvious strings that it only makes the book more poetic and sad. Afterwards you want to just find your family and friends and tell them how much you love and cherish them, then really learn to enjoy life. Not that he had any real regrets, just that he only missed these things, not the wealth, power or job.
It is the true story of a man, editor of Elle in Paris who has a massive stroke around the base of the brain. So is effectively becomes a quadriplegic. In fact, the only part of his body that he can truly control is his left eye. He dictates the book by blinking it to a person recording. Amazing to think of it.
The book is a series of vignettes where he explains what his life as a ‘locked-in’ is, what he misses, visits and his memories of the day of the stroke. Only in the preface do you know that he died only a few months after finishing the book and only two or so years after the accident.
Its very moving and something everyone should read.