Prosopagnosia is supposed to be a rare neurological condition. But it isn’t. And I’m not even sure it is a ‘condition’ and not just part of a personality type.
Recognising faces is on a continuum from extreme non-recognition to the super-recognisers employed by, for instance, the police on Oxford St. in London to catch shoplifters. I am well below the average, you could say I have prosopagnosia.
I’ve read in a friend’s review that she can’t believe someone could go through all their life and not know that they can’t recognise people. But you can, just not always and not the same people. You think you have a bad memory for faces and you tell people that and then they tell you almost always how they can’t remember names (can anyone?)
When I tell my customers I might not recognise them again (as I have the last few years since I found out about prosopagnosia since I hope people will then not be quite rude to me as they think that is what I am being to them) and talk about it, about once a month or so one will tell me of their exact same problem. I have noticed that it goes along with an introvert/extrovert (no balance) personality, not being able to read people well, being artistic, intelligent and too blunt.
We don’t all share all of these characteristics, but it does seem the people I know do share most of these. Perhaps we don’t have neurological deficits as much as we share a personality type that is ‘diagnosed’ instead of accepted as another variety of normal? It’s not as if we live any differently. We find it harder to make friends for sure, but we aren’t friendless, we have careers, we marry, we have children. We just don’t always know who you are even if we did a few hours earlier.
All of the people I have met who have prosopagnosia say, as I do, that it comes and goes. That is part of the problem. You don’t know who you aren’t going to recognise next. I’ve left my ex-husband at the airport, but never any other time did I not recognise him. My friend I lunch with a few times a week I’ve failed to recognise later in the day. This makes people think you are cutting style on them, that you are sometimeish and snobbish and only speak if you feel like it. But you don’t know to say hello because you don’t know you knew them.
I lost one very good customer, a very wealthy man (best friend is the Aga Khan, seriously). He would turn up every six months or so and buy hundreds of dollars worth of books. I didn’t say hello to him the last time he was in and he didn’t believe a word I said and was very nasty to me and told me he would never ever buy another book from me. He hasn’t either.
So I’m interested to read this book from the prosopagnosia point of view. From the disfunctional family angle? Not so much, I had my own and like dreams, hearing about other people’s abusive family can be a little tedious.