Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Book Review: You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know

You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know, by Jeather Sellers, is the memoir of a woman who suffers from prosopagnosia - face blindness.  She can see people's faces, but she can't remember them.  She identifies people by their clothes, the way they walk, and their voices, but never by the faces.  As an adult she deals not only with this disability, but also with the knowledge that her mother is a paranoid schizophrenic.  The book alternates between her adult life and the impact of prosopagnosia and her experiences growing up in a severely disfunctional family.

Writing Review:
No complaints here!  I liked the writing and found her descriptive writing to be especially touching in several passages.  It's one of the few ARCs I've received that I would have no problem reading as a finished copy.  Of course as an ARC there were a few formatting errors, but there was no sign of a lot of the writing issues that some ARCs contain - this one had no inconsistencies or grammatical errors.  I was impressed and would have no problems with it as a final copy.  It's a memoir, and it's written like a memoir, so to me it's something of a genre piece - there isn't in-depth analysis or reporting as in other non-fiction, but I am happy with the quality of the writing.

MST3K Review:
Loved it!  Prosopagnosia is actually something I studied in college and found fascinating.  I've always been interested in psychology and actually majored in psychology for a while, although I ended up making it into a minor and going for English instead.  So both aspects of the story (the mental illness of her parents and the prosopagnosia) were very interesting to me.  If you aren't into memoirs, especially those of the screwed up family variety, this one probably isn't for you.  I would say that the focus is more on the family than the prosopagnosia, although it is tied together well at the end.  It's not heavy on scientific detail, which was somewhat of a drawback for me because I like to read the details.  However, the author does include the names of many prominent researchers, so it is not difficult to find their research if you're looking for a technical description. 

I recommend it for anyone who enjoys memoir as a genre or for those interested in mental illness or perception disabilities.   

10 comments:

  1. I just got a copy of this book and am looking forward to reading it. It sounds absolutely fascinating! I love memoirs and dysfunctional families, so I think it's right up my alley! :) I haven't heard of the disorder that she has, so I look forward to learning a bit more about it!

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  2. I read and review and loved this one as well. Glad to see your review.

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  3. I'm reading it right now and I am amazed that she never realized she had it before she was 38 and was oblivious her mother was mentally ill forever and ever, but I guess it was her 'normal.'

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  4. This one sounds interesting! I hope to read it someday. Thanks for the review.

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  5. Thanks for the review Julie...Memoirs are not usually my thing, especially the dysfunctional family thing, but I was fascinated to learn about face blindness -- had never heard of that before.

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  6. This one is next on my list. It sounds realy interesting!

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  7. This sounds like it would hit hard like Still Alice.
    Putting this one on the list for sure.

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  8. This sounds so fascinating and I love memoirs!

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  9. I'm glad to hear so many of you are interested in this one. It's one that certainly deserves to be read. Like some commenters said, you're initially shocked to see that she truly has no idea her family is suffering from mental illness, but as you read you start to really understand why. I have a few close relationships that have been touched by schizophrenia and it's amazing how "normal" they find these bizarre behaviors.

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  10. It sounds fascinating, I like memoirs similar to this. I am actually really goos with names and faces so I can't imagine how difficult it would be for her. Thanks for sharing your review

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