The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: And Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: And Other Clinical Tales
Oliver Sacks
(Touchstone, New York: 1998)

Many of the case studies previously published in similar forms, starting in 1970 and through 1984 (when book was first published).

READ: April 2008

This was an interesting read, with some truly fascinating stories of people with various mental disorders. Dr. Sacks has been working with patients with neurological disorders for a very long time, so he has many stories to tell.

While I enjoyed the book on the whole, I found it a little unsatisfying, however - I wanted more in terms of neurological explanations and perhaps even a word or two about the philosophical side of neurological disorder (which Dr. Sacks kept alluding to but never going into more detail about). For the majority of the stories, Dr. Sacks just states the facts of the case, makes one or two observations, then moves on... I understand that it was not always possible to follow-up with the patients, to see perhaps how a particular type of treatment was working out, but it felt a little too much like I'd sat down with him in a bar and now he was telling me story after story without a chance for me to get a word (or question) in edgewise: "Here's an interesting story ... Here's another one ... What about this guy? ... It makes you wonder about what it really means to be human doesn't it? But enough about that already, how about this case here?"

So overall: Interesting, but if you were hoping to get some insight into how the human mind works or a bit of an understanding for why a certain disorder may or may not develop, you'll have to look elsewhere.

No comments: