Saturday, January 8, 2011

Read: You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know

My book group this month discussed the book You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know by Heather Sellers. It is a memoir about a woman who discovers that she has a rare condition called prosopagnosia (also known as face blindness), which causes her not to recognize people by their faces. She also discusses her difficult childhood, being raised by a schizophrenic mother and an unstable (and cross-dressing) father.

It was interesting read, but all the crazy was a bit much at some points. A few members of our group compared it to The Glass Castle, in that some of the situations were so bad you don't understand how someone can live like that. The storyline about her face blindness and how the diagnosis changed her was the part that I like the most.

The book certainly has a lot of material for a good discussion, making it a good choice for book groups. However, because it's a fairly new book, I couldn't find any discussion questions, so I came up a list of my own questions to get us started. I'm posting them here to possibly help out other book discussion leaders. I hope someone finds them useful. If you use them, leave a comment and let me know!

1) Why does Heather marry Dave? Why do they continue to live such separate lives even after they are married (even when they are living in the same town again)? What does Heather mean when she writes, "It was always going to be hard to know about Dave." (pg 351)? What do you think their relationship is now?

2) Discuss the parallels between her recognizing her mother's illness and her own condition. Why do you think she was determined to find (make?) a connection between schizophrenia and face blindness?

3) Why was Heather so afraid to tell people about her condition? Why did the first few people she told react so badly?

4) When asked by the journalist, Heather states that she wouldn't want to be cured if it were possible (pg 325). Do you believe her? She discusses her reasons on the following page. Do you think they are valid?