Diving Bell & the Butterfly, The

Bauby, Jean-Dominique

  12 Reviews

After suffering a massive stroke, Bauby, editor-in-chief of the French Elle magazine, finds himself paralysed (Locked-in Syndrome). With one eyelid, he "dictated" a memoir that recognises how personhood can continue, as insistent as ever, in an unresponsive body. Bauby's imagination and black humour dominate this moving little book.

Comments from Groups

All of our group were impressed with this book inspired by the way it written...Most of us had read it twice. It is a book you need to discuss with others! Palmerston Nth 004

Excellent, informative, beautifully written, clever imagery and an amazing man. Ashburton 004

Superb book. Everyone enjoyed it. Quite lyrical in places. Highly recommended. Christchurch 137

Our group was awed by this beautifully written memoir, and the hope that the author was conveying despite the adversity that appeared totally overwhelming. A great book to generate discussion. Governor's Bay 001

An amazing book written with a brilliant imagination and with an heroic effort. It made us reflect on difficulties experienced by others. Auckland 020

The huge mental energy involved in retelling his [the author's] story was well appreciated by group members. A reminder to us all to celebrate our wellness and life. Otaki 001



The book notes are wonderful, exploring the genius of this book. The book is a tangible miracle, which enlightens, encourages and exhorts us to remember the strength of the human spirit. It is written (communicated) by a man who needs the world to remember that we are so much more than the sum of our parts.
TAUP 009
While the way the book was written, and the story behind it were really fascinating, the group found the book quite boring.
AUCK 319
Phenomenal story. It's incredible how it was written, with the blink of an eye. The patience that it must have taken for everyone involved! Loved the poetic style of his writing, however we did find this one a bit too easy to skim read, and, for most of us, we weren't really "drawn in". Still, an impressive read.
The group enjoyed the book and the issues it raised about life, health, illness, independence/dependence, disability etc. We would have liked more in-depth content about Bauby the man, and his relationships, but recognised the constraints on him.
CHCH 337
We liked the book, however some group members had seen the movie and recommended watching this, and all group members felt that the movie had a greater impact by far. Would therefore highly recommend watching the movie in tandem with the book.
OMAR 001
A powerful insight into the mind when you can no longer speak or move for yourself. It was enjoyed by all the group - we felt huge admiration for Jean-Dominique that he had the tenacity and courage to persevere with his story - nice humour and no self pity. A gem of a book and a must read.
A brief but beautiful book.
DIAM 001
"A privilege to read". A remarkable book by a remarkable man. We all enjoyed a very lengthy discussion.
NELS 044
A most admirable, fascinating and educational book that everybody should read. We decided that it's not a great book, but one of the most important.
HAST 014
We enjoyed the writing - a great turn of phrase and very poetic - it's amazing that he wrote the book with 'Locked-In Syndrome'. A couple of our group gave it 5 stars, and thought it was life changing, and they recommend it to all their friends.
All of our group thought that this was an amazing book.
RICH 007
We all found this an interesting book, and were amazed that it was achieved by a movement of an eyelid. It sparked great discussions, both about the text, and on personal experiences.