Monday, October 8, 2007

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Reaction

I am going to be completely honest about my views of Jean Dominque-Bauby's The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; I think it's boring, useless, and I regret ever reading it even though it was required. Yes, it is a horribly tragic what happened to Bauby after his stroke but that doesn't mean I have to pity him and read his book. He wrote it with his left eye, which is an amazing feat, but so could everyone if they tried.
His views on his locked-in syndrome are very interesting and mentally provocative. But when reading I put that aside and ponder about who Bauby was before the stroke. Was he a jerk? A caring father? I don't know for sure. He worked as an editor at Elle magazine, divorced, and moved away from his family to be closer to his career. His writing style encourages me to hate him. I get an impression that he manipulates huge words to try and sway the reader to admire his knowledge and high status in society considering every chapter he mentions his job. Although I like who he is when his children visit him. Their trip to the beach broke his heart. Comparing his writing style to his tears leaving his left eye, Bauby seems to me to be a complicated soul.
To me this book didn't seem like a memoir. It seemed like a cry that shouted: "PITY ME!" Other than the sections with his children Bauby only talks about what he can't do, which is a lot but I don't enjoy reading a book of negatives. His regrets, sadness, and memories of what he could do only make me think that it is Bauby’s own fault that he didn’t take risks or make right decisions. Bauby asks me to understand his opinion but all I can do is disagree with it.

In conclusion, I believe that this story should not be required to be read in schools. There is a disturbing nature at every word. I believe those who are interested should only read this story. I will give Bauby one good point of accreditation. He taught me to take risks because who knows if you will be even able to move all your limbs tomorrow.

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