A Nearly Normal Life: A Memoir

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9780316558365: A Nearly Normal Life: A Memoir

As a fourteen-year-old boy from a small Midwestern town, Charles Mee believed in God, family, and his future, which, at the very least, included girls and a long spell as a hometown football hero. But when he collapsed one night at a school dance, his dreams began to vanish. In a narrative at once funny and profound, Mee brilliantly captures the era in which polio, not communism, was every American parent's nightmare. Unraveling the mysteries of his own Cold War youth, Mee gives voice both to the child with a potentially fatal disease and to the man whose recognition of himself as a disabled outsider has served to heighten his gifts as a storyteller.

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About the Author:

"And although I couldn't play football and basketball, I discovered that I could write about them with real sympathy and passion, and so, without ever meaning to, I became a writer.

I became a writer before I had any plan about it. It felt good, and so I kept doing it. I wrote about sports for Barrington's weekly newspaper, and I found I liked putting together a sentence that moved and worked as well as a jump shot. Here was something I could do with my head. And the page was, as they say, a level playing field. There I could be as good as anyone else, and maybe even better. After I had written about sports for a while, I tried short stories and poems.

Now and then I would tell my friends that I might become a writer. And sometimes someone would reply: 'What do you have to say?' I had nothing to say; it was just something I could do sitting down. It wasn't until years later I realized that writing is not about saying something, it is about discovering something."

Charles Mee is a playwright and the author of more than a dozen books. He lives in Brooklyn."

From Kirkus Reviews:

Frank memoirs of an adolescence shaped by a bout with polio that changed forever the author's body and psyche. This slice of very personal history comes from a man better known for his plays and his diplomatic and political writings (The End of Or der: Versailles 1919, 1980, etc.). Mee was stricken with spinal polio in the summer of 1953, when he was 14 years old. From a healthy, athletic 160-pounder, he was rapidly transformed into a weak 90-pounder able to move only three fingers of one hand. Thr eaded through his recollections of his hospitalization and rehabilitation is a brief history of the disease, including a vivid portrait of the culture of fear it engendered, the role of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the National Foundation for Infantile Pa ralysis and the March of Dimes, Sister Kenny's excruciating therapeutic techniques, and the search for vaccines by Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin. Even more fascinating are his accounts of the useless medical and surgical treatments performed by doctors anxi ous to do something, anything, for their young patients. The heart of Mee's story, however, is his confrontation with the reality of what happened to him. Deeply ingrained with the ideal of the normalhe gives a wonderful picture of middle-American normali ty of the 1950s complete with paint-by-numbers art, Father Knows Best, and stay-at-home moms raising football-playing sons and cheerleader daughtersMee could not deny his own deviance from that normality as he struggled to pass for a normal teenager. Fort unately, the world of books and the mind opened to him, and he pays tribute to those who helped him find his way there. Mee ends these memoirs with his leaving home for Harvard, but an epilogue provides a glimpse of the nearly normal life he created for h imself in the years that followed. A reminder of a past era of conformity and a clear depiction of what it means to be an outsider. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Book Description Little, Brown Company, United States, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. As a fourteen-year-old boy from a small Midwestern town, Charles Mee believed in God, family, and his future, which, at the very least, included girls and a long spell as a hometown football hero. But when he collapsed one night at a school dance, his dreams began to vanish. In a narrative at once funny and profound, Mee brilliantly captures the era in which polio, not communism, was every American parent s nightmare. Unraveling the mysteries of his own Cold War youth, Mee gives voice both to the child with a potentially fatal disease and to the man whose recognition of himself as a disabled outsider has served to heighten his gifts as a storyteller. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780316558365

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Book Description Little, Brown Company, United States, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.As a fourteen-year-old boy from a small Midwestern town, Charles Mee believed in God, family, and his future, which, at the very least, included girls and a long spell as a hometown football hero. But when he collapsed one night at a school dance, his dreams began to vanish. In a narrative at once funny and profound, Mee brilliantly captures the era in which polio, not communism, was every American parent s nightmare. Unraveling the mysteries of his own Cold War youth, Mee gives voice both to the child with a potentially fatal disease and to the man whose recognition of himself as a disabled outsider has served to heighten his gifts as a storyteller. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780316558365

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Book Description Back Bay Books. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 240 pages. Dimensions: 7.9in. x 5.2in. x 0.6in.As a fourteen-year-old boy from a small Midwestern town, Charles Mee believed in God, family, and his future, which, at the very least, included girls and a long spell as a hometown football hero. But when he collapsed one night at a school dance, his dreams began to vanish. In a narrative at once funny and profound, Mee brilliantly captures the era in which polio, not communism, was every American parents nightmare. Unraveling the mysteries of his own Cold War youth, Mee gives voice both to the child with a potentially fatal disease and to the man whose recognition of himself as a disabled outsider has served to heighten his gifts as a storyteller. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780316558365

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