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Steve Fiffer

8 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 068485418X / ISBN 13: 9780684854182
Published by Free Press, 1999
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Cameron Park Books (Raleigh, NC, U.S.A.)

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Good hardcover with very good DJ. Ex-liub with some of the expected markings, but otherwise unmarked, bright and clean with square and tight binding. Enjoy reading with a real book in your hands. Shipping from North Carolina. Dedicated to delighting our customers. Delivery confirmation provided on all domestic orders. Happy to ship to international locations. Consider expedited shipping - just a little more moves your purchase a lot faster. Digital photos available on request for any book. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000014990

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: Free Press

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

About this title


What would you do if you were seventeen years old and broke your neck? Steve Fiffer had his whole life ahead of him in December 1967 when he fractured his fifth cervical vertebra in a wrestling accident at school, shattering his dreams. The diagnosis was quadriplegia, and his parents were told that he would never walk again. Within five months he was out of the hospital, within seven he was on crutches, and within nine he was beginning his freshman year at Yale University. And most remarkable of all, he never lost his wisecracking sense of humor or his hunger for all that life has to offer.
Three Quarters, Two Dimes, and a Nickel is Steve Fiffer's story of his coming of age, and of how he created a normal life for himself despite his injury. We join him around the dinner table as he rebuilds his once distant relationship with his father and gains a new appreciation of their bond; we agonize with him as he tries to find true love (or at least lose his virginity) despite his self-consciousness about his physical awkwardness, and we join him at the Lawson YMCA in downtown Chicago, where he rebuilds his body under the watchful eye of the manic physical-fitness coach Dick Woit.


Despite the fact that it opens with a paralyzing wrestling injury, Three Quarters, Two Dimes, and a Nickel by Steve Fiffer is one upbeat memoir. After exposing the reader to the numbing psychological aftershock of the injury he suffered at the age of 17--"The accident had fractured more than my fifth cervical vertebra, broken more than my neck. It had fractured reality, broken time"--the book quickly gives way to a sincere and sustained optimism, free of self-pity and sentimentality. The horrific event is effectively turned into a defining experience rather than the primary focus of the rest of his life. Just seven months after being told by doctors that he would never walk again, he manages to enter his first class at Yale University on crutches rather than in a wheelchair. That he would someday walk again seems less a dream than an inevitability: "I wasn't supposed to walk again. I wanted to walk. So I did." But there is much more to Fiffer's coming-of-age tale than his efforts to retrain his legs. In poignant descriptions of personal awakenings, sexual stirrings (and frustrations), and the common desire for acceptance, "becoming whole" extends far beyond the task of dealing with a broken vertebra. He may not be a dollar bill, he explains, but "three quarters, two dimes, and nickel" add up to the same thing in the end.

Some of the book's more colorful and moving passages feature Dick Woit, a former pro-football player who subsists entirely on Cool Whip and whom Fiffer enlists for some tough love. In the manic guru-cum-trainer's first meeting with Fiffer, Woit refers to him as "Crip," promptly instructs him to hit the deck and perform some sit-ups, then declares his effort, and current physical state, "pathetic." Thus motivated, Fiffer begins regularly attending Coach Woit's gym to battle for control of his legs and his life. His struggle to walk makes his story intriguing, even suspenseful, while his grappling with larger issues makes it universal and inspiring. Told with candor and plenty of humor, Three Quarters, Two Dimes, and a Nickel beautifully defines the subtle differences between simply enduring an unimaginable twist of fate and actually making something good of it. --Shawn Carkonen

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