By Oliver Sacks
Alfred A. Knopf, $26.95, 326 pages
Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks is an interesting blend of science and story. According to Sacks, the percentage of adults who will experience a hallucination at some point in their lives is larger than you might think. Most commonly, they occur just before falling asleep or just after waking up. While most people understand that a hallucination is a sensory experience that is not associated with an actual experience, Sacks is able to give the actual experience of a visual hallucination such a tangible description that the reader can experience a hallucination through his words.
Hallucinations can occur for a variety of reasons. Readers will learn all about them. Highlighting the medical and scientific elements of various diagnoses the reader begins to understand how real, scary and overwhelming a hallucination can be, especially having multiple hallucinations that happen suddenly. The case studies woven throughout the book bring these stories to life. Sacks’ writing style is engaging and keeps the reader moving through the book. However, his mastery in writing really comes through in the way he tells the stories of others.
For anyone who is interested in unlocking the unknown side of the mind – those into psychology, sociology, and learning how we work – this is an engaging, humorous and information-filled book.
Reviewed by Rachel J. Richards