Malcolm Sayer and Robin Williams as Dr. Oliver Sacks

I love the beauty of storytelling. Writers electrify words, encourage your imagination to grow with the events of a story, and make you connect to characters as if they were people you met in real life.

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My favorite actor is Robert DeNiro, and don’t worry this is not a story about Bob’s acting chops, but rather an introduction to the inspiration behind one of his film’s, Awakenings. (Sidenote: Although, he does have some range playing Michael’s father in the Godfather to Drew Barrymore’s father in Everybody’s Fine.) DeNiro plays Leonard, a man who after falling ill from encephalitis lethargica, is now in a catatonic state. We meet Robin Williams, a doctor at the residential hospital who discovers the drug L-Dopa (used to treat Parkinson’s) to temporarily waken the patients who had all been imprisoned by this immoveable plague. Characters, both patients and doctor staff exhibit an incredible amount of resilience and dedication to keep pushing through the obstacles faced before them. As a reader, I progressed with Leonard as he was relearning an old habit and felt his pain as he struggled with things that were once easy.

I’ve seen this movie and read the book many times, always finding a new way of looking at it. I enjoy Dr. Oliver Sacks’ storytelling because he takes me away to a fictional world where I care and sympathize for his characters. Through this creative conduit, I am introduced to real emotions of disappointment, admiration and compassion. To end, “[Sacks] opens to the reader doors of perception generally passed through only by those at the far borders of human experience.” –The Boston Globe


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