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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A BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOUR OF LIFE WITH CEREBRAL PALSY

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

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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