Today is Dewey’s 24 hour readathon. So I am doing lots of reading!
Stuart Maloney introduced himself to me on twitter and I saw from his profile he’s written a book called 26 a behind the scenes tour of life with cerebral palsy ( amazon link) so being that I 1) love to read disability memoirs and particularly those by other CPers 2) really enjoy reviewing books and 3) am the cheeky sort the very first thing I said to him on twitter was to ask if I could have a freebie to review. And he very kindly said yes.
Here’s the synopsis
Stuart Maloney was dead for twenty-six minutes when he was born, which led to brain damage and cerebral palsy. Stuart pulls back the curtains on disability and describes his triumphs and tribulations as a disabled person in his memoir 26. Stuart takes you on an in-depth tour of his life with cerebral palsy. He blends touching honesty and humour as he leads you along his life’s pathway. A deeply introspective and moving tale, 26 will have you laughing one minute and crying the next. Stuart provides an insight into the everyday life of a disabled person and the obstacles he has to negotiate. Stuart will show you that little achievements mean just as much as bigger ones as he lets you look at his life through his eyes. His memoir is an inspiring story of courage, determination, and a will to live.
Stuart’s book is self published through Authorhouse but you should overlook that fact. It’s one of the better self published books I’ve read and definitely the best Authorhouse one (generally I am not an Authorhouse fan). It’s really well written and easy to read. I did notice one or two errors but they were so minor they were easy to skip over.
I thought he did a really good job of explaining what his life was like both with and without CP (which is my all too clumsy way of meaning the bits it affected and those it didn’t). It was really interesting because Stuart is only a year or so younger than me, if that, and we had some similar experiences but also some very different ones. For example he went to a mainstream school with a special needs unit whereas I was fully mainstreamed. Which is something I occasionally wonder if I’d have done better if it were different. Not academically but from a social point of view.
I’m always on the hunt for a good disability memoir and it’s been a while since I read one that I could say I liked. Just that with no buts or ifs or warnings. Of the last two I hated one (badly written and frustrating) and the other was an its good but… (it was good but I thought the guy was a bit extreme in treatment choices so was wary of recommending it). This book I liked. No clarification needed and I have absolutely no worries about recommending it as worth the read. That makes me happy.
The only bit I didn’t like was Stuart’s use of the term “stillborn” to describe himself and the fact it took 26 minutes for the resuscitation team to be successful. It struck me as the wrong term and I’m wondering what the reason behind it was.
My own CP was caused by my being born 6 weeks early and my lungs not being properly developed. I don’t know the exact details but reading this has made me think whether I want to know the exact ins and outs. I’m not sure yet.
This has about 215 pages and I found it an enjoyable and relatively quick read. I rather suspect that a couple of my family members will want to read it and I think they’ll enjoy it.