The book is sold as a sort of uplifting testament to the power of the human spirit. "It will make you fall in love with life all over again," one review says. And I guess that's partly true. Bauby has the strange vantage point of being able to look over his life after it has essentially ended. He sees all the missed chances, the times he should have savored it more. Certainly, the reader has the chance to fix all the mistakes that he cannot. But I don't know that I left it feeling inspired. My overriding feeling was one of fear. Life holds worse possibilities than I ever imagined. Who knew such a horrifying thing could happen to a person. His essay about a day with his children — his grief over the inability to tousle their hair, touch their bodies, reassure them when they are afraid, tell them he loves them — is heartbreaking. No person is meant to live this way.
The book was an amazing window into the mind of a man in incredible circumstances. He records his memories and his fantasies, and he is truly a talented writer. But part of me regrets reading it. I am haunted by it still and fear I will be forever.