The Diving Bell and the Butterfly- Review

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby (read June 15, 2015)

The subtitle, ‘A Memoir of Life in Death,’ is probably the most accurate description of the experience described in this book. Told by a patient with locked-in syndrome, the circumstances of this condition are revealed. Bauby attempts to describe how it feels to be alive, yet unable to live. I say ‘attempts,’ because I don’t think any amount of words could allow someone to fully comprehend this feeling. To have thoughts, desires, and needs contained inside you and barely being able to express them is so absurd. This further displays the necessity of communication and language (which makes me so happy, as a studying speech-language pathologist).

The literature is very straight-forward, and the book is not very long. Seeing as the author was communicating his words using an alphabet board, this is understandable. While involving some fairly foreign concepts and situations, the book is not incredibly profound, partially because of the repetitive thought patterns. The concept and description of locked-in syndrome and the accompanying emotions were great, but the language itself was not anything spectacular. However, the metaphors of the diving bell and butterfly were incorporated well, and used comparatively very nicely.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


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