King (Walking the Crooked Path, 2014) blends pragmatic realism, Christian faith, and an irrepressible sense of humor in his second motivational memoir.
Parkinson’s disease is an incurable affliction of the central nervous system that affects movement, often causing tremors, among other symptoms, and King’s memoir offers a look into the everyday life of someone who suffers from it. In a series of short essays, the author, who was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s at 47, shares stories that show how his outlook has evolved due to his day-to-day experience of living with his disease. He writes that his life often feels like an ongoing battle to maintain simple pleasures for as long as he can: “With God’s help and the support of family and friends, I intend to live in defiance of Parkinson’s disease,” he writes. “It can’t have me; I claim victory.” He often tries to find a balance between being cautious and not giving things up too early; he tells of arguing with his wife over whether he should still be driving a car, for example. He also relates that his inability to pursue certain hobbies, such as scuba diving and skiing, have sometimes contributed to a sense of losing his independence. Overall, King’s tone is conversational and realistic, but he’s also optimistic and often cracks jokes. In this regard, the book may be particularly valuable to Parkinson’s sufferers and readers who know them, although others will find it to be informative as well. Readers may wish that some of the chapters were longer and that they were fleshed out with a little more detail and structure. The good-natured humor, though, sometimes makes up for this lack of a clear narrative arc.
A plainspoken account that will appeal to anyone who’s interested in the experience of living with Parkinson’s disease.