Jean-Dominique Bauby was the editor-in-chief at Elle Magazine until he suddenly became a victim of Locked-In Syndrome. This left him with the ability to move only one eyelid to communicate. The novel was written through this form of communication which must have been painstaking and was a mission of love. One he couldn’t see the extent of its success as he sadly died three days after it was published.
What I loved about this book is yes, it’s a sad story and Jean-Dominique tells it in heart breaking truth; however he also has humour, dignity and even irony with this book. One minute he will be talking about the heartbreak seeing his children can be, or listening to loved ones on the phone but being unable to respond, the next he says ‘to find I couldn’t even pronounce ‘l’, I couldn’t pronounce the place I edited’ with wit and charm that you don’t find in these ‘Real Life Tragedy’ books that are all the rage and I cant stand. This book is deep, moving, profound and in places funny and that’s what real life can be like.
This is a quick read, you can read it in a few hours (its a mere 144 pages and they whiz by) which are exceptionally worth while and you come away thinking ‘bloody hell I’m lucky’. It doesn’t change your life however it definitely makes you appreciate your life, and what more can you ask from a book?