This book became a friend. I lived among its pages for over a month and grew alongside the narrative. At first I reluctantly became involved with the characters—I let Diane lead me with her heavy imagery and lofty prose. But I yawned-active into the story of Paul’s stroke and Diane’s caregiving. I gently explored the aphasiac’s brain and waited for the morsels of explanation as to how exactly the human mind works. I love the closeness I feel to people I’ve never met and probably will never meet. Nor would I want to, actually. It’s wonderful to know that Diane Ackerman and Paul West exist as more than fictitious characters. If I were to meet them, I would have to participate in the relationship and my “self” can be so darn heavy. I’ll stick to being the unknown observer this time, thanks very much.
My “professional” review of One Hundred Names for Love can be found at The Caregiver’s Survival Network.