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Columbus, OH, 43205

"I wish it were fin du globe," said Dorian with a sigh. "Life is a great disappointment."


The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

Angie P






Title: The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat and Other Clinical Tales

Author: Oliver Sacks

Published: April 2nd 1998 by Touchstone (first published January 1st 1985)

Blurb from both Amazon and Goodreads:

In his most extraordinary book, “one of the great clinical writers of the twentieth century” (The New York Times) recounts the case histories of patients lost in the bizarre, apparently inescapable world of neurological disorders.

Oliver Sacks’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat tells the stories of individuals afflicted with fantastic perceptual and intellectual aberrations: patients who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts; who are no longer able to recognize people and common objects; who are stricken with violent tics and grimaces or who shout involuntary obscenities; whose limbs have become alien; who have been dismissed as retarded yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents.

If inconceivably strange, these brilliant tales remain, in Dr. Sacks’s splendid and sympathetic telling, deeply human. They are studies of life struggling against incredible adversity, and they enable us to enter the world of the neurologically impaired, to imagine with our hearts what it must be to live and feel as they do. A great healer, Sacks never loses sight of medicine’s ultimate responsibility: “the suffering, afflicted, fighting human subject.”

This book, holy cow. I read raving reviews but I wasn't expecting anything this good. What Oliver Sacks excels at is writing in both an informative manner, with medical terminology, and also writing in a way that makes the stories almost seem fictitious. You can really tell that Oliver Sacks cared about his patients and took a piece of them with him. 

The tales in this book are categorized into four parts: Losses, Excesses, Transports and The World Of The Simple. You're taken on a journey to see what it's like to all of a sudden lose integral parts of the brain that make you who you are. Then, you're shown what it's like to have too much of a good thing and what happens when the brain goes into rapid-fire, so to speak. Part three is about transports, and that shows us how the brain can transport it's person into the past and unlock memories that were thought to have been forgotten. The World Of The Simple, part four, is about those with mental retardation and how they interpret the world. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in psychology and neuropsychology. 

 For notes and keeping track of passages, I am using a  Moleskine Book Journal  from their Passions line.

For notes and keeping track of passages, I am using a Moleskine Book Journal from their Passions line.