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Review: "Gratitude," by Oliver Sacks


This is truly not a book at all, nor should it have been made into one. I had read them before and thought that the book might have contained some other pieces as well. I understand that Sacks was an intriguing writer, theorist and bestseller during his lifetime. I also realize that this might have been one small way for his publisher to thank him for his labors over the years. But all three of these short, and tender, but not necessarily moving, essays have already appeared in print in the past, most notably in the New York Times. It took me 10 minutes to read the entire book. One unfortunate feeling when I finished was that I was glad I had not paid $17 to own it. Given that, the essays are nicely portrayed but feel more like an opportunity for Sacks to bear his soul and offer a bit of "witness" to his own life. There is a beautiful level of acceptance without remorse of his impending death. If all who are nearing the ends of their lives are lucky enough to be thankful for the great opportunities they have encountered in life the world of death and dying would be a much richer, more resonant place. We can all only wish that we possess Sacks introspection and honesty somewhere down our own future roads.