Oliver Sacks was equally at home in the wards of chronic disease hospitals as he was in the esteemed and hallowed halls of Oxford or riding across the United States with leather bikers. Perhaps it is this effortless ability to relate to such a wide variety of people and milieux that has allowed him to garner respect and almost cult-like status among the intelligentsia and the common man alike. From Hollywood actors — like the late Robin Williams, who played Sacks in the award-winning film Awakening—to Nobel Prize winners, Sacks’ chameleon – like ease has garnered him both respect and admiration.
Revered as a physician, beloved by family and friends, Sacks was at heart a storyteller, and a masterful one at that. In his brilliant autobiography On the Move, Sacks takes the reader on a vivid and storied journey from South London, where he grew up in a home of brilliant physicians, to his sexual awakening in repressed postwar England to his medical and professional training to his rise to literary prominence. In revealing his own life story, Sacks shows us that his autobiography is equally as enthralling as those of his patients, whose stories he captured in Awakenings and Hallucinations.
On the Move is not just the autobiography of a brilliant and renowned neurologist, it is an honest, no-holds-barred account of a gay man growing up in a repressed and disapproving world, displaying sensitivity and an all-encompassing empathy toward each of his patients — evidenced by his sleeping quarters in a tiny apartment adjacent to Beth Abraham hospital, arranged so that he could be accessible at all hours of the night to monitor the treatment and responses of those in his care. Dr. Sacks combines fascinating life and deep interest in the human condition with the writing acumen to adequately describe it. On the Move is his fireside chat, an adventure of the mind and spirit to match his life’s travels.
- Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way by Molly Birnbaum
- Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home by Jessica Fechtor
- Reading List on Death and Mourning
Read an excerpt from On the Move here.