Saturday, June 4, 2016

Shaken But Not Stirred | Alexander Reed and Dirma Van Toorn

*This book was provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


A compilation of real-life humorous stories about living with Parkinson's disease written by people with Parkinson's. Each story shows individuals affected by Parkinson's (whether being diagnosed with it or living with someone diagnosed) can learn to see the humor in some of their daily situations. Half of the profits from this book will go to European Parkinson Therapy Centre


I requested this book from NetGalley mainly because my father suffers from Parkinson's disease. He actually had Early Onset Parkinson's before it was an official diagnosis. It wasn't until Michael J. Fox admitted he had Early Onset that my dad was properly diagnosed. Now he is in end stage Parkinson's and, after over 20 years, it's getting difficult to see the humor in his situation. So, when I saw this book, which focused on helping combat the depression and anxiety so strongly associated Parkinson's, I jumped at the opportunity to read it. I was not disappointed. 

Each story not only had me chuckling, but it also had me taking copious notes about life with Parkinson's. It can be difficult to find the humor in a situation where your neurologist gives you a diagnosis and, instead of explaining anything gives you booklets and pills. The first short-story author, Dirma Van Toorn, describes a couple of situations where authority figures/security guards thought she was drunk, high, or acting strange because she was shoplifting. Life with Parkinson's is full of troubles. But it can still be a full life. 

There are so many funny stories in this compilation. Stories about situations that, in that moment, must have seemed like the end of the world, but in retrospect are funny. One of the authors talked about trying to go to the bathroom while conducting a phone interview and he ended up urinating in his pants. He chose to use this story as an anecdote in a speech and was later told by a woman in the audience "thank you!" Because she needed to know she wasn't alone. 

And, really, that's what's at the heart of these stories. If you have Parkinson's or someone you love has Parkinson's, you are not alone. There are groups of people out there who can help you. Parkinson's doesn't mean you can't live a full life. It just means you gotta work a little harder for it. And this book is a good resource for the darker times, when you can't find the light.

If you have Parkinson's, a family history of Parkinson's or are a caregiver for someone with the disease, I highly recommend the book. It's a bit shorter than I would like, but each story is poignant and well placed. There were some minor typos, but I received an advanced copy, so those should be cleaned up by the time the book is published later this year. Shaken But Not Stirred is a heartwarming, informative read and highly recommend it. 5 hoots!

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