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Mirkat

Mirkat Always Reading

I'm always reading something, usually multiple books at a time.

Currently reading

Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Reveals About Who We Really Are
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, Tim Andres Pabon

You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know

You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know - Heather Sellers

Prosopagnosia is the medical name for face blindness, though, as Heather Sellers explains in her memoir, people with this condition have no trouble seeing a face. The problem is the inability to remember those facial features and access those memories the next time the features present themselves. Sellers shares a fascinating account of a life in which she had persistent trouble with social interactions because so many people just look alike. It was not until she was well into adulthood that she realized that there was anything atypical about the way she perceives faces.

Sellers's memoir is not only about her condition, but also about her relationship with her eccentric parents. An offhand comment from an ex-boyfriend, uttered at their 20-year high-school reunion, led her to reconsider her mother's behavior and realize that she'd been raised by a paranoid schizophrenic, and not just someone who was "peculiar." As a child, she'd divided her time between this mother and an alcoholic father who was a secret cross-dresser.

There were times when Sellers would describe encounters where she'd failed to recognize friends or family members, and I'd be stunned that it didn't occur to her that this was not normal. "You're face blind," I wanted to yell. "DUH!" But if she'd never perceived differently, how would she know? Of course these people all look like other people. As Sellers begins to educate herself--and her readers--about this unusual condition, she also sheds light on brain processes and wiring most of us take for granted. Ultimately, Sellers concludes that prosopagnosia is a gift, one that forces her to accept uncertainty and follow an alternate path to resolving it.