When she was three years old, Alison Neuman was diagnosed with dermatomyositis, a rare muscle disease that also affects her immune system. However, she did not know the name of her debilitating illness until much later. She spent a lot of time in hospitals and at doctor’s appointments with her mother by her side. As she was growing up, the disease progressed, and Alison ended up needing a wheelchair. It didn’t stop her from developing her creative mind though, and she threw herself into writing, singing and dancing. In fact, she spent all her energy into fulfilling her dreams and enjoying her time with her family and friends.
Searching for Normal is about Alison Neuman’s life but it is also a tribute to her mother. The author is an incredibly courageous woman,and despite this awful disease, she manages to keep her sense of humor. For example, she nicknames her illness Dermy, and she also gives her doctors monikers that describe their behavior (Dr. Cowboy, Dr. Pinches, Dr. Respect, etc.). While her story is interesting and moving, I thought some parts were a bit slow at times. Maybe a little more editing would have made the book even more compelling. However, I admire the author’s lust for life and her perseverance in the face of adversity.
In the end, all Alison wanted was to find her place in the world and to be normal. But she eventually realized: “My difference is what makes my life interesting. I’d rather be anything but normal.”
Searching for Normal was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review.
Fun facts about the author and the book:
- Searching for Normal was turned into a musical in August 2013 for the Edmonton International Fringe Festival. Alison Neuman wrote the script and co-directed.
- The author is working on a young adult fantasy novel titled Hindsight.
- She created Camp Mission Access, a secret agent themed day camp for children 8 to 12 years old.
- When Alison Neuman was a child, she wanted to be a nurse.
About the author and her work: Alison Neuman’s Website.
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