My Adventures with Disaster and Destiny
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Wry anecdotes from the life of comedian, “inspirational leader,” and Oprah protégé Anner.

“I never expected to be a disability advocate,” writes the author in this funny, empowering autobiography chronicling his three decades of life (so far) with cerebral palsy, a permanent condition that hasn’t prevented him from living his dream as a comic, a media sensation, and a motivational speaker. In Anner’s own words, he was born “a crappy baby who failed his way into this world and I’ve been making the best of it ever since.” The result of a premature birth, Anner’s CP emerged, but the condition took a back seat early on during his very public, whirlwind life developing his TV and online persona and his work “humanizing disability.” Anner’s narrative is affably chatty as he escorts readers through the stories of his childhood, the nicknames, the foibles, and the journey toward winning a competition to star in his own (if short-lived) wheelchair travel show, Rollin’ with Zach, on Oprah’s OWN network. His viral audition for Oprah made him a “household name overnight,” and the author recounts his random adventures in speed dating and telling “cripple jokes” onstage as a budding comedian. Not exclusively modest yet free of hubris, Anner’s talky, balanced memoir picks up steam in the second half as the author’s involvement in a radio show, a documentary, and a TV series provide pages of appealing, hilarious riffs, including a tenure as a “Disney Cast Member” and his “cowardly Casanova groove” period spent dispensing dating advice while ignoring his own late-blooming romantic life. After years of hard-won success and personal challenges, Anner still admits, “learning how to stay true to yourself while some people expect you to speak for everyone has been a tightrope walk—which is very hard to do on four wheels.”

An inspirational memoir with a seasoned, infectious sense of humor.

Pub Date: March 8th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-62779-364-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2015

Kirkus Interview
Zach Anner

Comedian Zach Anner opens his frank and funny book, If at Birth You Don't Succeed, with an admission: he botched his own birth. Two months early, underweight, and under-prepared for life, he entered the world with cerebral palsy and an uncertain future. So how did he blossom into a viral internet sensation who's hosted two travel shows, impressed Oprah, driven the Mars Rover, and inspired a John Mayer song? (It wasn't "Your Body Is a Wonderland.") If at Birth You Don't Succeed is an irreverent and heartfelt memoir about finding your passion and your path even when it’s paved with epic misadventure. “An inspirational memoir with a seasoned, infectious sense of humor,” our reviewer writes. View video >


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