The Man Who Forgot How to Read – Review

2nd Canadian Book Challenge, Eh?
The Man Who Forgot How to ReadThe Man Who Forgot How to Read

by Howard Engel

genre: Non-Fiction

I read this book as part of the CBC Book Club and the day the book came I decided to read it for the 24 Hour Read-a-Thon.  I really wanted to get as much out of this book as possible but I had difficulty enjoying it.  There came a point about half way through that I made the decision I needed to keep reading to make sure I got it done.  The Man Who Forgot How to Read was not as interesting as I had hoped it would be.  

Howard Engel is a mystery writer of the Benny Cooperman series.  One morning Engel woke up and found the world was different than it was the night before.  Upon going to the hospital and getting things checked out it turned out Engel had a stroke and it had some lasting effects on his ability to read.  When he tried to read the paper he could recognize the individual letters but when they were put together to form words and sentences he had no idea what was going on.

The other day I got an email from Hannah Sung and I responded to it.  I want to pass it our conversation on to you:How’s it going? Hope you aren’t too headache-y today. I’m not stalking you – just read your blog, which is how I know that about you….

…also, I know that you couldn’t stand Howard Engel’s book. Sorry to hear that! But I’m dying to know….why?

Bye for now,

I sent her the following message in response:

Hi Hannah!

Today isn’t too bad, I wish it was better than it is but I can live with how things are going today.  Thanks for asking.  Come now, I know you’re stalking me lol!  It’s actually funny you mention that, there are two people in Stratford I see regularly and all my friends and I refer to them as my stalkers, perhaps I’ll need to add you to the list now too!  hahaha. Anyway, I’m glad to see you’re stopping by my blog and reading things.  

As you saw I read The Man Who Forgot How to Read for the 24 hour Read-a-Thon and I didn’t really like it.  There are a couple of reasons for not liking this book.  I guess the number one reason I didn’t like it is because I felt the book was quite repetitive, it was already a short book and I think he could/should have gone into more detail in several aspects of his life (before and after the stroke). The other aspect that bothered me was the fact that I still don’t really know how he’s worked through the problem.  Well, I guess that’s still a lack of detail issue because he touched on it but I was expecting a lot more about that.  

Now I think I should also say that I’ve read a book by Oliver Sacks (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat) and I didn’t like that very much either.  I didn’t like his book for the same reasons I didn’t like this one.  

Perhaps if I’ve read one of Howard Engel’s books I may have a different perspective on this book.  I may even enjoy it more if I read a book from before and one from after.  I haven’t read one of his books because I really have difficulty reading that particular genre.  And sadly this book didn’t inspire me to want to read anything else he’s written.

Thank for email, I’m really looking forward to what may be next on the list of books.  It’s been an interesting discussion this month.



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