SMA News Forums Forums Life Advice and Transitions Dating and Marriage “If at Birth You Don’t Succeed”

  • kevin-schaefer

    April 26, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    I just finished the book, and I wanted to provide a non-spoiler review here.

    “If at Birth You Don’t Succeed” is a funny and touching memoir, with a narrative that can only be described as unpredictable and zany (much like its author). At first I found this book to be well-written and funny, but I didn’t expect it to go beyond sheer entertainment. The earlier chapters contain mostly outrageous stories from Anner’s early years, and detail the early pitfalls and successes of his career. It’s fun and there are plenty of laugh-out loud moments, and I’d have been content with the author’s endless supply of wildly inappropriate jokes about living a life on wheels.

    Then, as the story progresses, Anner reveals just how vulnerable he is. He writes intimately about his goals, fears, anxieties, regrets, desires and everything else that made him the person he is today. He provides an in-depth examination of his love life, from a hilariously missed opportunity with a young reporter, to eventually meeting the love of his life through Twitter. It’s these parts that affected me the most, and Anner’s words allowed me to reflect on similar struggles I’ve had when it comes to dating and disability.

    From there it gets better and better. By the end of the book I felt like I had had an in-depth conversation with Anner. I learned not only about where he’s been and the things he’s done, but I could also feel the things he’s felt and gone through the emotional whirlwind of his life with him. As a 24 year-old with a disability and with a similarly irreverent sense of humor, I felt a deep connection with Anner’s story. I hope you all give this book a shot, as it has a lot to say about what it’s like for people with disabilities in the modern world. Yet beyond that, it’s just a great human story, full of all the chaos and hope that life provides.

    4/5 stars

  • deann-r

    April 28, 2018 at 10:01 am

    I’ll add it to my summer reading list!

    • kevin-schaefer

      April 29, 2018 at 11:58 am

      Hope you enjoy it! Like I said, the humor is irreverent, but not in a cheap way.

      Also, do you know of any books by women with SMA or women with similar disabilities? All the books I’ve read by SMA authors are by men, and I do want to branch out. My friend Danielle Sheypuk, who’s a clinical psychologist with SMA, has said she wants to write a book. I really hope she does, but in the meantime I’m looking for more disabled authors out there.

Log in to reply.