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

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Synopsis

An unusual and uncommonly moving family memoir, with a twist that give new meaning to hindsight, insight, and forgiveness.

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 she sometimes kissed a stranger, thinking he was her boyfriend, or failed to recognize even her own father and mother. She feared she must be crazy.

Yet it was her mother who nailed windows shut and covered them with blankets, made her daughter walk on her knees to spare the carpeting, had her practice secret words to use in the likely event of abduction. Her father went on weeklong "fishing trips" (aka benders), took in drifters, wore panty hose and bras under his regular clothes. Heather clung to a barely coherent story of a "normal" childhood in order to survive the one she had.

That fairy tale unraveled two decades later when Heather took the man she would marry home to meet her parents and began to discover the truth about her family and about herself. As she came at last to trust her own perceptions, she learned the gift of perspective: that embracing the past as it is allows us to let it go. And she illuminated a deeper truth-that even in the most flawed circumstances, love may be seen and felt.

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About Heather Sellers

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HEATHER SELLERS is the author of the story collection Georgia Under Water and several books on writing. A poet, essayist, and frequent contributor to O, The Oprah Magazine, The Sun, and other publications, she teaches at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.
 
Published October 14, 2010 by Riverhead Books. 367 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know

Kirkus Reviews

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After staring at the celebrities on the cover of People, she realized, “I recognized the names—Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, Britney, Jessica—but not the faces.” Her problem worsened as she embarked on a new relationship with her soon-to-be husband, Dave, whose previous wife suffered mental p...

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The New York Times

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Her mother, though tiny, took up a lot of room, “like a live downed wire.” In reading about schizophrenia, Sellers comes across the term “icebox mother,” and does the textbook one better: “She was more like all the kitchen appliances going at once.” Of her father, Fred, she writes, “It was like a...

Oct 08 2010 | Read Full Review of You Don't Look Like Anyone I ...

Dallas News

This intriguing memoir recounts what it's like to live with prosopagnosia, a neurological condition that makes it impossible to recognize faces.

Nov 30 2010 | Read Full Review of You Don't Look Like Anyone I ...

Oprah.com

She doesn't know if she's looking at Brad Pitt or Winston Churchill in a photo, can't identify her students outside the classroom;

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Red Room

Many other reviewers have complained about yet another “disturbing childhood/dysfunctional family memoir.” I agree many of those exist, but I submit that a book review is just that—a comment on the world the author has painted, not a woe-is-me about the reviewer’s reading history.

Feb 25 2011 | Read Full Review of You Don't Look Like Anyone I ...

The Nervous Breakdown

Imagine what it must be like to be surrounded by strangers, never recognizing the face of your spouse, the face of your children, your co-workers and students, or even your own features when revealed in a photo or in film?

Mar 18 2011 | Read Full Review of You Don't Look Like Anyone I ...

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