Rollo spins a truly nightmarish medical ordeal into a life-affirming exercise in resilience, optimism, and eternal gratitude.

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Baby Steps

An inspired, epistolary debut memoir chronicling an amputee’s months of rehabilitation and recovery.

Canadian automotive industry veteran Rollo recounts a harrowing medical nightmare, which began in 2013 after he underwent a complicated eight-hour spinal surgery to alleviate pinched-nerve pain radiating down his legs. The 6-foot-5 author hoped the titanium rods that the surgeon inserted would stabilize his posture and eventually improve his impaired ability to walk. Unfortunately, Rollo suffered a postsurgical heart attack. After an attempt at a bypass procedure, he contracted pneumonia, and a major circulatory impairment to his lower extremities necessitated an amputation of both feet. He narrates his personal story while also including the loving, encouraging words of family members, and he illustrates his work with endearing portraits of his wife and “Chief Angel,” Cathy, and graphic medical photographs. Along the way, he unfurls a tapestry of hope, survival, and genuine emotions that run the gamut from exhaustive desperation to prideful glee. His account of his tribulations during a grueling recovery process is difficult to read at times, but he threads in bits of wisdom, humor, and graceful poetry, which add perspective and personality: “Camaraderie was a balm, a healing ointment that could spread across the wards,” he writes of his time in a rehabilitation facility. His sage discussions regarding medicinal pain management, phantom pain, and even the benefits of prunes offer useful information. He also questions the absence of mental health support for patients who undergo amputation procedures. Overall, this heart-tugging memoir is a story of bravery in the face of mounting depression and seemingly hopeless odds. It shines brightest when the author is most candid about his journey; his inclusion of the months of Facebook posts, however, have a somewhat impersonal, distancing effect. His sobering opinions on the highs and lows of life with prosthetic limbs, though, will surely encourage readers to cultivate a newfound respect for life.

Rollo spins a truly nightmarish medical ordeal into a life-affirming exercise in resilience, optimism, and eternal gratitude.  

Pub Date: May 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4602-8296-0

Page Count: 258

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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