Oliver Sacks’ astonishing The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales.
Review by Ellena Ancheta, written March 27, 2021.
Book: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales
Genre: Case History, non-fiction
Author: Oliver Sacks
Oliver Sacks’ The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat describes numerous cases from former clients with neurological disorders and shares his learnings he gained from working with them. We observe clients who have lost certain senses; who have gained excess power in their senses; whose disorders transport them into another reality; who are intellectually disabled.
I loved these stories; they were very intriguing; I never knew the extent to which neurological disorders affect a person.
One thing that I always looked forward to reading were the postscripts. In them, he talks about the lessons he has learned, whether it be his own misconception of the neurologically impaired or the medical field’s own faults to recognize certain mental disorders or the beauty in recovery and compromise. It was a moment for Oliver Sacks and the reader to reflect. There is A LOT to unpack when reading one of these stories, so the postscript guides the reader to think sincerely of the disorder.
Another thing that stuck out to me was that for most of the stories, treating clients was not just “POOF! You are cured!”. There usually was not just some pill or medication that people could take to go to “normal”. Treatment was a process. And there was often error at the first try. In the end, there are compromises and lots of work clients made to adjust to their conditions.
This book took me a few months to read because it takes some time to take in all the content and advanced wording. It sometimes took me 1 hour to read two pages because I had to keep rereading it. And other times I just stopped reading to just...think about the things I had learned from the book.
I recommend the book to those interested in psychology and looking for more difficult books to read. My tips while reading Oliver Sacks’ The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Wife is to TAKE YOUR TIME. It might seem frustrating, but when there is so much to explore and learn, why rush it?