The Blue Man and Other Stories of the Skin

Robert A. Norman. Univ. of California, $27.95 (152p) ISBN 978-0-520-27286-6
Dermatologist Norman's (The Woman Who Lost Her Skin) latest book is all about skin—from its puzzling presentations, to its painful diseases, to its relationship to self-esteem and social acceptance. Intrigued and challenged by the personal stories and science of his patients' illnesses, Norman relates their experiences with extra nipples, ears, and fingers; severe scratching, skin picking, and other psychological diseases. He covers the gamut from commonly seen eczema and psoriasis to "weird pathologies," such as scalp eating. As a medical mission volunteer, he visited a Haitian orphanage where only the "light-skinned" children would be adopted. And in Africa, he explains, albinism is terrifying for people afflicted with it, who face constant fear of amputations because their limbs are valued by witch doctors for good luck potions. While Norman targets a general pop science readership with this eclectic selection of anecdotes, his writing is still a bit technical for the average reader. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014
Release date: 04/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 158 pages - 978-0-520-95250-8
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