Attention: A Love Story

Pantheon. Apr. 2020. 240p. ISBN 9781524747107. $26.95. MEMOIR
Expanding an article for the New York Times Magazine, Schwartz (In the Mind Fields) explores the nature of attention. The most fascinating part of the book is Schwartz’s exploration of her ten-year addiction to Adderall. An example of memoir at its best, this section of the book universalizes the personal. Unfortunately, the rest of the book does the opposite, with Schwartz constantly making assumptions about society in general. She is easily distracted, therefore, she concludes, we as a society are easily distracted. Nonetheless, she does take readers on detours through the lives and thoughts of writers who explored the idea of attention—David Foster Wallace, Aldous Huxley, William James, Simone Weil—which are worth reading.
VERDICT Overall, an average memoir about one woman’s struggle with addiction and subsequent attempts to find acceptance.

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