Review: You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know – Heather Sellers

“Heather Sellers is face-blind – that is, she has prosopagnosia, a rare neurological condition that prevents her from reliably recognizing people’s faces. Growing up, unaware of the reason for her perpetual confusion and anxiety, she took what cues she could from speech, hairstyle, and gait, but often failed to recognize her boyfriend, her parents, even her own image. She thought she must be crazy.

Yet it was her mother, not she, who nailed windows shut and covered them with blankets, and her father who took in drifters and disappeared on weeklong benders called “fishing trips”. It wasn’t until decades later, when Heather brought the man she would marry to meet her parents, that she discovered the astonishing truth about her family and about herself. Her story is proof that even in the most flawed circumstances, love may be seen, felt, and forever remembered.”

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You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know is a true story of how the author Heather Sellers came to realize that she has face-blindness. Heather Sellers tells her story of how she late in her life finally figures out the reason for her actions and issues throughout life – of how she could never recognize her friends or coworkers or even family. At the same time You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know is a tale of her family. Of how she struggles with figuring out why her mother acts the way she does and whether she loves her mother or not, and of how she cannot seem to feel like she fits in the life her husband and his two sons have.

I will start by saying that I really loved the perspective Heather Sellers chose to go with when she decided to write the book. Instead of just writing about her tragic and struggling childhood, she incorporated these themes into the main perspective or theme of the story – her face-blindness. It is interesting how this condition of hers is what makes her realize that she has to do something different with her life.

Sellers does a great job at narrating and is a very likable narrator. I have not read many autobiographies so I am not an expert in how other books in the genre have been written, but I must say that I really enjoyed how Sellers chose to write the book like it could have been a fictional book. It kept staying interesting and had the suspense going.

At the same time I actually got to learn a lot about different psychological conditions, and since I have always been fascinated with psychology, this was definitely a plus. I wish all non-fiction books were written like this.

Heather Sellers has used a very graceful writing style, and the book was very comfortable to read. It was not a fast read, but it was a book which slowly opens up to the revelations of Sellers life.

You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know by Heather Sellers (English), 356 pages, Riverhead Books

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