It's funny how one of the most inspirational and confronting novels I've ever read has been one of the shortest. At an easy read of 132 pages The Diving Bell and The Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby, manages to make you laugh, cry and really appreciate the small things in life that Bauby isn't capable of enjoying.
The novel follows the sudden demise of the world wide renowned Editor of French Elle after he suffers a stroke and becomes a victim of the "locked-in syndrome." Jean-Dominique Bauby has become a quadriplegic that is so sever he can only communicate via blinking his left eye (also how he wrote this novel via his speech therapist) and obscene grunting noises, which are often too much of a task to even attempt.
Bauby manages to keep his sense of humour about the whole situation and even states that if "[he] must drool, [he] may as well drool on cashmere," this humour is the exact thing that stops you from wanting to put down the book from pure horror of his situation.
Throughout the novel Jean-Dominique explains the seemingly menial highlights his life has come to be about, the terrible nurses, the "tourists" in the hospital - those that only have minor injuries and therefor a minor time in the hospital and his new appearance. He looks into his past frequently, mostly looking at what he once had.
After the novel was published Jean-Dominique Bauby unfortunately passed away two years later, not even being able to experience the success of his novel.
I really recommend this book, from reading it I've gained a new respect for people who are put in his situation and will no longer assume their mental capabilities are hindered, which is clearly and undoubtedly not the case. I will also cherish every moment that I have, every sense, experience and simple moment of placing one foot in front of the other, something that a lot of people only have memories of doing.