A debut memoir from a woman who found a unique remedy for the social anxiety caused by her lifelong stuttering.
G. isn’t the first person in her family to suffer from a disability, she says: “My father was born with hearing loss, as was his father and his father’s mother.” G.’s hearing was fine, but her stuttering was compounded by dyslexia, both of which became serious problems for her in third grade. Fortunately, her supportive parents were active in ensuring that she had the best instructors that the California educational system could offer. She would go on to graduate with a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and she later received a doctorate in psychology. At heart, G. is a teacher—she’s a community college professor—and she brings that skill to her memoir, detailing, in plain English, the scientific underpinnings of stuttering and how someone with speech difficulties may become, for example, a successful singer: “stuttering is thought to originate from somewhere in the left side of the brain, near the area that produces speech….on the right side of the brain, you have the areas that produce the functions of intonation or singing.” G. also writes of her passion for comedy; starting in, she bravely pursued stand-up comedy, and she still relishes performing at open-mike nights in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her often funny, salty, and justifiably angry prose articulates the frustrations that she faced as a stutterer in the “fluent” world, including the irritation of being interrupted during a word block, the psychological impact of being discounted and mocked, and the self-imposition of silence in an effort to make listeners comfortable. Some of the jokes that she includes here may work better in a live setting than then they do on the page, but others are sure to have readers laughing out loud.
An edgy, thought-provoking, and informative insider’s view of a frequently misunderstood disability.