Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Book Report: A Leg to Stand On

Oliver Sacks’s book A Leg To Stand On tells a great story.  It’s a story of personal triumph over adversity, including a near-death adventure, a giant bull, and swelling classical music.  And it is a great exploration of proprioception at the same time.  Sacks, as a neuropsychologist and doctor, brought unique skills to bear on an exploration of his own major injury and the resulting loss of recognition of his leg.  The surgical repair went well, but somehow he could not feel his leg at all.  It vanished from his sense of his body.  He does, eventually recover both full use of his leg and his leg does rejoin his body-concept, but it is a fascinating and frustrating process.

What he learns, among other things, is that our bodies define themselves in action.  Our movements make ourselves.

Even if I hadn’t been interested in the subject itself, I think I would have enjoyed the book because he is a smart, literate person with a flair for language and a poetic sense of the world.  I recommend the book!

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