Anywho, the book for today's review is an inspiring story indeed. It tells the tale of one man's journey through life in a not-so-typical way. (Vague enough for you? Not to worry, the good stuff is coming up...) Today's book of choice is....
Kevin Michael Connolly
Imagine going through life always feeling like you are being judged before you get to say or do anything. (Wait a second....that's how a lot of people feel anyway...hmmm) The moment you are spotted, a judgement is made about who you are and how you came to be. Whether real or perceived, these knee-jerk reactions from strangers can affect even the hardiest of souls. When you combine these everyday obstacles with the not-so-everyday aspect of being born without legs, those moments take on an even bigger significance.
This is the story of Kevin Michael Connolly. Kevin as it turns out was born without legs. To his family and himself, the initial shock was handled and life moved on as average as possible. Sure there were times that hurdles needed mounting, but with the help of his family and friends and a little ingenuity, nothing seemed impossible. He went through his early year by the seat of his pants....no literally. His grandfather developed a sort of boot he could wear on his lower half to protect his body. You see, Kevin was content to go through life in his own way. He found his prosthetic legs of no greater use than making him "appear" as everyone else, and his wheelchair slipping him into another class of handicapped individuals, neither of which was an appealing option. At least on his own two hands, he could take a bit more control of his own destiny.
It was this iron will and drive that took him to the great places he was destined to go. From schooling to dances to skiing to....yes, I did say skiing. Can you imagine? He became such a great a skiier that he was in a special race of the X-Games! (I'm sorry, but that's amazing in my book....heck, if I got out there, I'd probably come back in a body cast whether I skied on one leg or two.) Upon reaching his later school years, he began to travel abroad with the aid of a foreign exchange program. He college years fortified the travel bug within him, but also brought to light the very real subject of how he was perceived. After one particularly tough day, he snaps a candid photo of a "watcher". When he views it, it's an unexpected look at how the world first interrupts him. He begins to gather more and more of these photos and soon discovers that the looks of curiousity and wondering are similiar no matter the country or culture....thus he develops a plan to showcase this side of human nature to the world. Does the story end there? Not in the least...but to expose it further would ruin the experience for you, potential readers.
Let me start out by saying that I do not generally make a habit of reading memoirs and biographies. I like my fictious worlds and the escapes they bring, what can I say? I get enough reality every day. However, once in a while a book in this genre will catch my eye and this happened to be one of those times. I am certainly glad it did! Thoroughly engrossing, you will find yourself sharing the emotions spelled out on the page before you. That's not to say that its a sappy story you'll be crying to at each turn, but you'll laugh through the jokes, smile through the determination shown, and share in the losses as well as the wins....all with the zeal of a close friend. Kevin Connolly may not have thought he should write a memoir at such a young age (he's only about 25), but the story he shares is a part of us all....a search for acceptance, belonging and feeling good about oneself no matter what we are facing.
Special thanks to Kathryn at Harper Collins Publishers for the ARC for review!
Until next time...happy holidays and happy reading!