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October 17, 2014

SEARCHING FOR NORMAL - A Memoir by Alison Neuman



A Memoir
Alison Neuman
Searching for Normal

(from Amazon)
Searching for Normal: A Memoir Following in the tradition of creative nonfiction, Alison Neuman details her life experience from the onset of a rare and painful illness at the age of three, recounting her personal journey as she comes to terms with an ever-shifting concept of ‘normalcy.’ The disease, dermatomyositis, shaped her life in ways most could never imagine; a carefree childhood quickly morphed into a blur of ongoing hospitalizations, increasingly reduced mobility, and overwhelming fatigue and pain. But, amidst her constant battles with her health, Alison emerges as a champion. Searching for Normal will leave readers awed by Alison’s perseverance and strength of character; her story serves as a reminder that ‘normal ’lies in the eye of the beholder. “Searching For Normal is a memoir about one woman’s attempts to define herself according to her skills and talents and passions, rather than the outward symbols of what others might consider disabilities. Neuman relates the story of the physical challenges she’s endured, but what shines through in this book—and what leaves the reader inspired and grateful—is her depth of spirit. Her belief in the power of creativity and honesty is a gift to all of us. Alison Neuman is, thankfully, anything but normal.” Curtis Gillespie, Author: Almost There: The Family Vacation Then and Now; Crown Shyness; Someone Like That; Playing Through; and, The Progress of an Object in Motion; Winner Danuta Gleed Literary Award. “Searching for Normal is a poignant and inspiring memoir of the power of the human spirit, the strength of dreams, and the importance of family. Alison Neuman may have been searching for normal but her achievements in the arts, including this memoir, are extraordinary. Anyone who has had a dream, struggled to overcome physical or psychological obstacles, or searched for his or her place in the world should read this book. Everyone should read Searching for Normal.” Cassie Stocks, Author: Dance, Gladys, Dance. Winner of the 2013 Leacock Medal for Humour.
  • Paperback: 300 pages, Publisher: Fireside Publications (October 21, 2013)
  • Language: English,  ISBN-10: 1935517279, ISBN-13: 978-1935517276

Alison NeumanNo one ever expected Alison Neuman to live past the age of three, let alone become a successful author and performer.

Now, an inspirational figure, Neuman has never let the painful disease she suffers with, dermatomyositis, dictate what she can and cannot achieve in her life.

An award-winning singer, Neuman has even done dance performances with the iDance and Cripsie Groups in her native Edmonton, Alberta, Canadian hometown. Along the way, she has become a college graduate, earning a degree in creative writing from MacEwen College, despite being told she'd never amount to anything.

Searching for Normal is her memoir and anthem to anyone who is suffering through sickness or obstacles that seem too impossible to overcome.

"You can and will achieve life's greatest dreams," Neuman says, "if you take it one step at a time; even if that step is while you navigate via a wheelchair." 

At the age of three, Alison Neuman came down with dermatomyositis, which is a rare muscle disease the affects the immune system.  It was later on in her life that she learned the name of her disease. 
 She was in and out of hospitals, doctor's offices always with her mother alongside her.  During her growing years, the disease got worse and she ended up in a wheelchair. This wasn't a deterrent for her to keep her creativeness going.  She put herself into her writing, singing and dancing.  She did all she could trying to fulfill her lifelong dreams and spending time with her family and friends.
The author wrote a wonder, sometimes very sad story about her life but it was a dedication to her mother.  This book shows how courageous this woman was inspite of the  obstacles in her life. She finds humor in it all.  I usually find memoirs sad and this one was also sad.  It was inspiring to know how some people can go on and fulfill their dreams with so much going against her. She kept on going and I can't even imagine how tough it was.  She came to the conclusion that: "My difference is what makes my life interesting. I'd rather be anything but normal."  I found the pace to be a bit slow but perhaps the author wrote it that way to allow the reader to stoop and think about what the author was going through.

 I was given a complimentary copy of the book from the author, Alison Neuman and Pump Up Your Book  for my view of the book. No other compensation took  place.

I would give this book 4 STARS.


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