The book tells the story of a young man’s life in a way that will make readers almost forget his cerebral palsy—but they’ll...

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An engaging memoir from a man who has lived 26 years with cerebral palsy.

  Maloney was born dead after a complicated delivery. He started breathing 26 minutes later, just as doctors were about to give up their resuscitation efforts. After 18 months, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and given 16 years to live. His memoir describes his first 26 years of life through a series of historical vignettes, anecdotes, tributes to friends and family and diatribes against a series of apparently incompetent health-care professionals in and around his home of Peterborough, England. He writes frankly about his condition and how it has affected virtually every aspect of his life: his early school years, his friendships and encounters with bullies and other ignorant people, his sex life. He emerges as a likable, funny, angry, happy, mature, successful young man who just happens to have mild cerebral palsy. And a seizure disorder resulting from a bout of whooping cough. And renal vasculitis resulting from sheer bad luck. Maloney never descends into self-pity, preferring instead to highlight the “benefits” of his brand of cerebral palsy (his shaky fingers enhance the pleasure of his lady friends, and police sympathy for his “disability” has saved him from at least one speeding ticket). He saves his anger for those who stereotype people with cerebral palsy as drooling, spastic wheelchair-riders who lack intrinsic value. He relates his almost accidental lawsuit against the National Health Service that eventually brought him a 1 million pound settlement that enables him to live on his own. Maloney remains resilient, strong and hopeful. “I found my life policy when I died at birth,” he writes, “and every day I try to live my life in accordance with words that I wrote and had tattooed on me so I don’t forget them: Forever my spirit breathes from within/Never will it leave or give in.” Readers will know he’s going to keep on striving.  

The book tells the story of a young man’s life in a way that will make readers almost forget his cerebral palsy—but they’ll want to remember.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2011

ISBN: 978-1467007887

Page Count: 236

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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