Monday, May 11, 2009

Read the book... then see the movie The Diving Bell and The Butterfly

In 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby was the 43-year-old editor in chief of Elle magazine, the father of two young children, known and loved for his wit, his style, and his impassioned approach to life. In one instant his whole life changed when he suffered a rare kind of stroke. After twenty days in a coma, Bauby awoke to a body that had all but stopped working, a state known as locked-in syndrome. The only part of his body he could move was his left eyelid, which he used to communicate to his doctors that his mind was clear. It was with his left eyelid, and the assistance of an incredibly patient nurse, that he was able to dictate his story letter by letter, word by word. He died two days after the slim book was published in France. The book is beautifully written and gives you a good sense of what this man’s life was like: “Vincent’s car slips into the hospital parking lot. Brilliant sunshine. This is where my visitors, hearts in mouths, need fortitude to brave the few yards that separate me from the world… I try to compose features atrophied by paralysis into what I hope is a welcoming smile.” We have the English translation of the book as well as the movie. The movie follows the book closely, and if you haven’t seen it, check it out soon. It’s one that will stay with you long after the credits roll.



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