Tuesday, January 4, 2022

NonFiction Tuesday: Smile: The Story of a Face

 In 2021 I read a fair amount of nonfiction, a little increase since 2020, but it seems like I am never reading enough of this type of book. Fiction just takes less time and sometimes non-fiction books that start out with so much promise become too dense or laborious, which causes me to put them down for a bit, and often never pick them back up.

I started 2022 by reading a great nonfiction book: Smile the Story of a Face by Sarah Ruhl

Sarah Ruhl is an accomplished playwright, and it turns out she's a really great memoir writer.  Ruhl focuses on the time in her life when she develops Bell's Palsy after delivering twins.  While 95% of BP sufferers recover within the first three months, Ruhl is one of the 5% that continue to struggle years after first diagnosed.  

I found the information she shared on Bell's Palsy rather fascinating since I know a few people who have been diagnosed with this condition.  I also appreciated how honestly Ruhl wrote of the emotions she had - from feeling embarrassed by her appearance, worrying about what her husband would think, concerned that her twins wouldn't develop their own facial expressions appropriately, avoiding being photographed - and shared how her own feelings about her BP experience changed as the years passed.

Personal anecdotes added a great deal to this story which is about Ruhl's Bell's Palsy diagnosis, but it is also about so much more.

I'm already picking up another nonfiction title to begin reading, and hoping that all of them are as engaging as my first choice of the new year.

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