Great Openings

“Trailing plastic tubes, Paul made his way across the room, steeped in twilight, and I was struck by how the body sometimes looks like the sea creature it is, a jellyfish with long tentacles, not really a fish at all but a gelatinous animal full of hidden symmetries, as well as lagoons and sewers, and lots of spongy and stringy bits.”

This is the opening line of my favorite memoir of 2012,  Diane Ackerman’s One Hundred Names for Love: A Memoir.  It sets a scene, paints a picture and gives us something to think about all at the same time (“a gelatinous animal full of hidden symmetries”). 

What’s particularly amazing about this memoir is that it manages to braid a love story with a story of a healing, a mission to educate about stroke and celebrate love of language.

Here’s Diane and Paul in a short Youtube video about the book: