Like the day Elvis died or O.J. was acquitted, the Tuesday you wake up paralyzed is not a day you soon forget. For writer Allen Rucker—baby boomer, husband, father of two, aging Hollywood also-ran—life started over that Tuesday when, at the age of fifty-one, he was struck by a rare disorder—transverse myelitis—that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Why him? Was he being punished? Was it his stressful life? His frustrating career? Telling too many Christopher Reeve jokes? Dazed and paralyzed, he was forced to reevaluate everything, from the simplest bodily functions to the mysteries of the universe.
In a style that is at once funny and moving, The Best Seat in the House offers an unpretentious and unapologetic account of learning to live with paralysis. Without trivializing his situation, and without sermons or clichés, Rucker invites all readers, whether disabled or not, to identify with him for better or for worse. This remarkably comic and heartfelt book speaks to the fragility of life and to the resilience and adaptability of a single, ordinary human being. Lucky for us, this human being has a sense of humor.
At first, it may not look like the best seat in the house, but read on. You might be surprised.
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An award-winning writer for television, author of nine books of nonfiction and humor, and columnist for Ability Magazine, Allen Rucker has written three books on the HBO series The Sopranos, including the #1 New York Times bestseller, The Sopranos Family Cookbook. He lives in Los Angeles.From Publishers Weekly:
Rucker (The Sopranos: A Family History) has written many TV shows, including the 2005 Peabody Award–winning Vietnam documentary, Two Days in October. At 51, he became a victim of transverse myelitis, a rare neurological disorder that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Opening with an entertaining, sarcastic glimpse at the TV industry and his struggles to script amusing "patter for splashy Hollywood ego fests," he interrupts the fun with a chilling account of the two hours in 1996 when he suddenly became paralyzed. Learning to reprogram his life at L.A.'s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, he felt "fear, guilt, loss, more fear" and had crying jags plus the shame and embarrassment of bowel accidents. Listing a litany of "pride-bruising indignities,"such as being gawked at and carried up stairs "like a beanbag chair," he explains how he confronted each new challenge. With many pages devoted to dealing with the "overly kind" able-bodied and their self-conscious attitudes, this potent memoir is also an effective how-to guidebook for anyone who is disabled. Rucker is a gifted observer-humorist, unleashing a straight-arrow honesty and a vibrant, penetrating wit while probing the most intimate aspects of contemporary life and human behavior. (Jan. 9)
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