Sunday, July 5, 2015
"On the Move, A Life" by Oliver Sacks
In his autobiography, Dr. Sacks ends his story by explaining that to him story telling and writing are a natural human disposition. He describes in all the book the learning life that in his case is the foundation of this natural disposition. The book is the story of his youth in England, his professional life in the USA, and finally his many journeys and connections with academics, professionals and ordinary people. He writes openly about his sexual life and his experiences with drugs, and how everything was part of an immense learning material. The reader that is familiar with his previous work can revisit stories like those of Awakenings, or the stories of blind people who can suddenly see, just to be overwhelmed and needing to go back to blindness. But those who have not read the stories before can enjoy a wonderful book about an extraordinary life. Sacks is empathic with his patients and is empathic with the readers. He is also open about the difficult relationship he had with some of his colleagues, like those who did not approve of his popularity, or others for the envy that sometimes plagues the work of academic or professional institutions. It is the story of the life of someone who has reasons to be proud of what he has done, but it is also explained with modesty and humour. Dr. Sacks will perhaps leave us soon, but his readers, current or future, will always be able to go back to his words.