07 November 2011

One Hundred Names for Love; Diane Ackerman

One Hundred Names for LoveOne Hundred Names for Love by Diane Ackerman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was one of those "wow, I learned a lot" books - more than I hope I'll ever need to know about having a stroke or the resulting recovery (including levels of aphasia). What dropped the rating considerably is that the author's voice was too wordy, too in love with description and sometimes this clouded the narrative.

Paul's frustration and anguish as he recovers from his stroke are painful to read. As someone who loves words and reading, losing the ability to understand and communicate is akin to a living death. The delight he has in recovering some of his facility with language struck home with me, as did difficulty he has matching words to thoughts later (I'm prone to "thingy" as a catch-all when my brain and mouth don't coordinate).

I've always wondered how people remember exact conversations and emotions at a distance: did Ms. Ackerman keep a journal? Or is she relying on memory and others' impression of what happened and was said? Towards the end she says that she read the book to him and they reconstructed the events together, but I'm a little leery of the accuracy of her story.

The bibliography and helpful hints appendices, while scary, could really help others in the caregivers role, should that happen.

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