Thursday, August 28, 2014

Review: Laughing at My Nightmare

Laughing at My NightmareLaughing at My Nightmare
Shane Burcaw
Nonfiction Memoir

With acerbic wit and a hilarious voice, Shane Burcaw's Laughing at My Nightmare describes the challenges he faces as a twenty-one-year-old with spinal muscular atrophy. From awkward handshakes to having a girlfriend and everything in between, Shane handles his situation with humor and a "you-only-live-once" perspective on life. While he does talk about everyday issues that are relatable to teens, he also offers an eye-opening perspective on what it is like to have a life threatening disease.

I received this book for review on Netgalley, figuring I'd request something other than a release by a bestselling author for a change, and I'm so glad I did. 

I know some readers who refuse to read nonfiction. While I can understand where they're coming from, I feel we owe it to each other as human beings to be aware of as many things as we can. And besides, no fiction writer can match the unbelievability of real life (except, like, the likes of John Green and JK Rowling).

Shane's story could potentially be a downer, as he describes his life with the fatal disease of SMA. However, he stresses his belief that humor is the best way to deal with things and live life. His book is light-hearted and funny and relatable in so many ways. He proves with his story that he (and others living with disabilities) is a normal person who goes through the normal experiences of growing up, with just one more obstacle in the way. He reminds us that everyone has issues, his just being physical. 

Shane talks us through the terrible downs of his condition, but all along remembers how blessed he is and other areas. There are so many morals you can discuss in this book, that I kind of wish I could study it in school. 

And speaking of school, the book has a lot of profanity and and sexuality and I therefore recommend it for an older reader. While I know those things are sometimes deal-breakers for teachers and parents, I implore you to disregard that. No teenager will focus on either of those elements- to the contrary, actually. Shane is a real young adult and talks like one, making the reader pay attention to WHAT he's saying, and not HOW he's saying it. In this respect, it's similiar to John Green's male protagonists (not TFiOS). 

Loved it! Rating:

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