Thursday, January 13, 2011

You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know

You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know is Heather Sellers' memoir, a look at what it is like to live with prosopagnosia, a disorder that made it impossible for her to identify people by their facial features. It is also an account of a childhood with two parents who would be considered dysfunctional by most. As an adult Sellers recognizes her mother's behavior as that fitting someone with paranoid schizophrenia. While Sellers had always recognized her mother's behavior as odd, the idea of her mother being a paranoid schizophrenic was hard for her to accept and believe. Her own diagnosis was also hard to come by, although the many examples Seller gave of not being able to identify people -including her own fiancee and step sons -makes it obvious that something in her brain is not quite wired correctly. Despite her best efforts and describing this disorder, I am still unable to truly picture anything other than a person with their facial features as a blur. Sellers articulates that this is not the case. She, as a highly educated and intelligent person, is a capable spokesperson for this rare disorder that is not often talked about. In addition to being able to talk about the more clinical aspects of prosopagnosia, Sellers can also convey the emotions that accompany this problem: the feelings of confusion, the desire to avoid social situations.

While I enjoyed this book, I did find myself skimming from time to time. The story moved along, yet I became irritated with her indecision/confusion about her marital relationship, and why (despite the warnings of her friends) she decided to marry her husband (then ex-husband) Dave at all.

Certainly this book is about Sellers life with face blindness. It is also a memoir of a childhood that was a far cry from mine, simply because of her mother's own mental illness. That Sellers went on to become a person who has triumphed in spite of her disability is memorable.


The Golden Eagle said...

She sounds like an interesting person. I've heard of prosopagnosia before and not being able to identify people--I'm intrigued by this book. Thank you for the review!

Katie said...

Heather Sellers was one of my favorite professors at Hope College!!! She was fabulously funny and creative and I still use some of her writing methods with my own students. I love seeing her book around the blogging world :)

Ordinary Reader said...

Found you on the hop. Thanks for sharing this review. I love memoirs and this sounds fascinating. Adding it to my tbr now.

Jon said...

Just hopping by. Those look like corn husk dolls on the cover of that book. My grandma used to make corn husk and apple head dolls. Might be a lost art.