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To Paddle My Feet

To Paddle My Feet by [Rita Sandford]

To Paddle My Feet by Rita Sandford is a heartfelt autobiography, portraying the author’s emotional yet highly inspiring journey towards achieving her dreams. The attack of Poliovirus snatched away Rita’s normal life– she lost her mother, became disabled, and was sent to the hospital to recover. Life in the hospital was harder than one could imagine– the harsh treatments meted out to the patients had a deep impact on the life of young Rita. Even though her feet barely had any power to move, she was expected to walk with the help of some assistance, which became all the more painful for her. 

At home, her life underwent a major change, as her father had remarried. She struggled to fit in with a family that was emotionally unavailable for her. When she lost her brother, she had none to console her tender heart. After her boarding school ended, her new-found zeal led her to find an independent life. She began living alone and went on to travel the world in her wheelchair– Australia, Africa, South America, and many other places. 

Author Rita Sandford’s story is a powerful commentary on how people with physical disabilities were treated in the 1950s. They were ousted out of society, with little compassion shown towards them. 

This autobiographical account can be read as a coming-of-age story, of a girl who learns to cope with her impairment, and how she goes on to live the life she had dreamt of, despite all odds. The linear plotline is simple to follow. The author uses simple and lucid language that kept me interested, if not hooked.

Besides her battle with the world, the book also depicts her struggle to overcome the inner demons. Her indomitable spirit allowed her to break away from the memories of a disturbed childhood, accept herself as she truly is, and pushed her to not lose sight of her dreams and aspirations. 

The author has a powerful voice all throughout the story that vividly illustrates her life before the reader’s eyes, but I think that more gripping storytelling would have allowed the plot to achieve greater heights, as it deserves. 

To Paddle My Feet is a heartfelt memoir that is ultimately uplifting and encouraging. This is a fantastic book to read in these especially difficult times as it will provide some comfort and with  a profound journey that delivers a sincere message. 

Pages: 309 | ASIN: B085TLFL4B

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Life Interrupted: It’s Not All About Me

Dealing with a disability or other debilitating disease is hard to begin with. When you don’t get the help that you need to deal with the changes your life is taking, it can cause irreversible harm to your relationships. Self-care is important; and is a burden that should not be placed on the people you love. It is alright to ask for help, but ultimately you are responsible for your own actions, how you deal with your situation, and making sure the people you love know you care about them. Chris Tatevosian gives readers an honest look into his life with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and how he let his attitude destroy his marriage. He shares his insights into what went wrong with his “it’s all about me” mentality; and how he learned to overcome that and build healthy relationships in life.

Life Interrupted, It’s Not All About Me by Chris M. Tatevosian is a short read of less than 150 pages. It is however, filled with deep topics covering depression, anxiety, abuse and recovery. That is a lot of emotional energy packed into a few pages. Chris Tatevosian’s purpose in writing this book is to help others avoid the mistakes he made. He is very honest about the mistakes he made and offers the reader ideas on how to avoid making the same mistakes. There is a good mix of positive and humorous stories mixed in with the challenges, so it is not an all-out depressing book. He talks about the good times and bad with his ex-wife. Hearing about the struggles to get disability and social security is relatable to many with disabilities of all kinds and he explains how the stress impacts both the people in the relationship, not just the one with the disability.

At times the book feels like it is a personal journal where Chris is just writing out bits and pieces of his memories. I feel this is important though to the reader because you see him before MS took away his independence. You see him as he was, and it helps to understand why he became so bitter and fell into the “poor me” attitude that eventually ruined his marriage. Letting others see this makes it more real and relatable. In the end this book is not just about him complaining about all he lost due to MS, it is about how he learned to adapt and how he learned from his mistakes. This is a good book for people that are struggling and feel alone and feel that they can’t ever change the situation they are in. You may not be able to change your disability or disease, but you can change your attitude and how you relate to the people in your life to make your situation a little better.

Pages: 148 | ISBN: 1606045636

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