SLOW DANCE by Bonnie Sherr Klein

SLOW DANCE

A Story of Stroke, Love, and Disability
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The diary of a stroke from its frightening first symptoms to the successful return to a productive—but transformed—life. Klein is a former documentary filmmaker and an active feminist. On vacation with her doctor-husband, she began to have problems with balance, swallowing, and speaking. Her husband read the symptoms (correctly) as trouble in the brain stem but didn’t know the cause. They rushed through the night to his hospital in Montreal, the start of a four-month hospital stay that culminated in radical brain surgery on a congenital tangle of blood vessels in the brain stem that had finally begun to bleed. During most of that time, the author was what the doctors called “locked in,” conscious and aware, but unable to speak or move virtually anything but her eyes (through which she saw double). For a time, only her husband, and sometimes her teenage children, were able to fully understand what she needed. This book is a combination of her own memories and journal entries, plus interviews with her family, friends, and caretakers, some of whom were less than caring. Three years of intensive rehabilitation followed, including alternative therapies. She was able to finish a film and even promote it, but she also discovered that the world was not kind to the disabled. Finally accepting that she would never be physically as she was before, she made friends with an electric scooter dubbed Gladys, launched a radio show, and is an activist for the disabled. She credits friends, family, work, and the fact that her husband’s profession gave her a special edge in her recovery. Klein offers a straightforward and detailed account of her road back; her sharp observations on the obstacles facing disabled individuals (bathrooms are all important) are more effective advocacy than a more highly charged polemic might be. (For another account of a stroke, see Robert McCrum, My Year Off: Recovering Life After a Stroke, p. 1092)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 1-879290-15-4
Page count: 320pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1998