Wednesday, May 7, 2008


The Diving Bell And The Butterfly, by Jean-Dominique Bauby; Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1997
Translated from the French by Jeremy Leggatt

By publishing standards, this is an old book. I bought the English version ten years ago after reading its review in Elle magazine. I've read this story numerous times, as have many of my friends who are also therapists. Jean-Dominique Bauby, the French Elle editor, wrote this after suffering from a rare brainstem stroke (rare because he survived for a time). The stroke left him immobile, without speech and only able to communicate by blinking his left eye. This is a poignant testament to his amazing mind. That Bauby wrote this magical book is of itself a wonder, as he composed his story by blinking his eye to utilize a communication system devised by his speech therapist. Who could guess that a person in Bauby's situation would make us all fall in love with life again?

Bauby died two days after the French publication of his book.

Bauby's story was made into a movie by director/painter Julian Schnabel. It is now on

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