July 2024

Do I Know You?

By Sadie Dingfelder
In Do I Know You?, faceblind journalist Sadie Dingfelder explores her condition and reveals the remarkable neural diversity of humans.
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Science journalist Sadie Dingfelder has known since childhood that she isn’t great at remembering people or faces. But for decades, she failed to notice that other people didn’t make the mistakes that she did, like hopping into strangers’ cars, or getting lost in her brother’s small house. After she mistook another man for her husband in a grocery store, Dingfelder began to wonder if her quirks indicated something larger. She decided to undergo a test and learned that she’s faceblind: She truly doesn’t remember faces. 

But that’s only the beginning of what she learned over the next year. “Welcome to my midlife crisis,” she writes in her charming debut, Do I Know You?: A Faceblind Reporter’s Journey into the Science of Sight, Memory, and Imagination. “There will be no fast cars or sexy pool boys, but there will be answers to questions that have dogged me my entire life. Mysteries like: Why didn’t I ever learn how to drive? Why hasn’t anyone ever asked me out on a date? Why was I so lonely as a kid, and how did I manage to make so many friends as an adult? (And why, despite having so many friends, do I still feel lonely?)” Dingfelder soon learned that along with faceblindness, she’s stereoblind—the world she sees is flat, not three-dimensional. She also learned that her brain doesn’t create its own mental imagery; when she reads a novel, her brain doesn’t create pictures or scenes. 

Dingfelder weaves her story into the science of how brains process information like faces and names, and how one type of neurodiversity, like faceblindness, is often linked to another. Throughout Do I Know You?, she’s both cleareyed and vulnerable, and though her mishaps and misunderstandings are often comical, she also conveys the losses that she’s only recently begun to mourn. 

Do I Know You? offers a specific story about one woman’s neurodiverse brain (and the book’s appendix offers practical resources for parents who think their child might be faceblind or stereoblind), but Dingfelder makes the specific universal, showing readers both the remarkable diversity in how our brains encounter the world, and how much more we still have to learn about ourselves.

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Do I Know You?

Do I Know You?

By Sadie Dingfelder
Little, Brown Spark
ISBN 9780316545143

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