I heard about Jean-Dominique Bauby’s remarkable story in Anna Lyndsey’s memoir and decided to it check out. His memoir, written blink by blink, chronicles his thoughts and feelings about his tragic situation. Bauby suffered trauma to his brain stem during a stroke which trapped him inside of his head, a phenomenon known as “lock in syndrome.”
I never like critiquing memoirs because they’re someone’s real story and it’s unfair to say that you didn’t like the plot of someone’s life. In particular it’s hard to criticize a book someone blinked into print when you’ve never written more than a few tweets. That being said, if you take the miraculous way the book was written out of the equation The Diving Bell and the Butterfly isn’t a particular good book.
I don’t know if I just didn’t like Bauby, who is a bit whiny (yeah, yeah he can only blink his left eye) , or if my dislike for short stories gave me no chance of enjoying it or if some of the magic was lost when the book was translated from French to English. Seeing as how Goodreads has it rated as 4 Stars I think a lot of people had trouble separating the book from the author’s situation.