Book Review: You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know by Heather Sellers

17 Jan

You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know by Heather Sellers: Book CoverRating:  2.5 out of 5 stars

About the Book

An unusual and uncommonly moving family memoir, with a twist that give new meaning to hindsight, insight, and forgiveness.

Heather Sellers is face-blind-that is, she has prosopagnosia, a rare neurological condition that prevents her from reliably recognizing people’s faces. Growing up, unaware of the reason for her perpetual confusion and anxiety, she took what cues she could from speech, hairstyle, and gait. But she sometimes kissed a stranger, thinking he was her boyfriend, or failed to recognize even her own father and mother. She feared she must be crazy.

Yet it was her mother who nailed windows shut and covered them with blankets, made her daughter walk on her knees to spare the carpeting, had her practice secret words to use in the likely event of abduction. Her father went on weeklong “fishing trips” (aka benders), took in drifters, wore panty hose and bras under his regular clothes. Heather clung to a barely coherent story of a “normal” childhood in order to survive the one she had.

That fairy tale unraveled two decades later when Heather took the man she would marry home to meet her parents and began to discover the truth about her family and about herself. As she came at last to trust her own perceptions, she learned the gift of perspective: that embracing the past as it is allows us to let it go. And she illuminated a deeper truth-that even in the most flawed circumstances, love may be seen and felt.

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My Review

This was one of my book clubs February book pick. 

Unfortunately, meh.  The subject matter was interesting; I did not realize such a thing as face-blindess existed.  I think Heather’s approach to it was realistic – I might not have thought anything was wrong either.  I also think her being obsessed with the fact that her condition could be linked to her mother’s condition was something I would have been obsessed with too.  I did NOT like the switching back and forth of timelines in the chapters – for some reason it confused me. 

I didn’t know that this was an autobiography until the end.  I’m not sure this made any difference, but there were some things I didn’t quite understand because I felt like I was only getting a quarter of the whole story.  Once I knew it was autobiographical, it made more sense – there probably were gaps in the story- intentionally done by the author to keep certain things private.  Unfortunately, it made it hard for me to understand the characters.   I didn’t really feel like I ‘got’ how things were for her.

I didn’t get the husband David either was he an alcoholic?  Did he fall off the wagon?  His over niceness was creepy to me.  He was like a robot! 

Bottom Line:  This story is an autobiography that deals with 2 conditions that are sort of interesting:  schizophrenia and face-blindess.  The story itself, however, isn’t very strong.  It has some good parts, but some gaps, which makes it a bit difficult to connect with the main character.   It’s not paced very well either.

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2 Responses to “Book Review: You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know by Heather Sellers”

  1. Karen January 18, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    Julie – NO! Please don’t think my time was wasted or anything. I certainly don’t feel that way! That’s how it goes, ya know! I learned something new and got to understand another perspective, which is all valuable to me. I’m happy to read anyone’s recommendations!

    The Librarian recommendation surprises me too. But maybe you and I are the only ones who feel this way – maybe we’ll find out everyone else really likes it!

  2. Julie January 18, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    So what you’re saying is…we should’ve read Cutting for Stone.

    I’m feeling the same way about this book, and am disappointed given that it was recommended by CCPL librarians during their Reader Advisory Event.

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