Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Time for a Wild Ride on the Short Bus
I received my advance copy yesterday of a new book by Jonathan Mooney. The book is titled The Short Bus. What is the significance of all this, you ask? One whole chapter is devoted to my sweet Ashley!
This book is the reason that I am having a tough time functioning today. I stayed up all night reading it. Well, maybe not all night - I may have gotten an hour of sleep before my scheduled 4:30am alarm. I don't regret a minute of the lost sleep however. The book is MAGNIFICENT!! I laughed, I cried, and I didn't want it to end. I developed a personal connection to everybody in the book, and reaching the last page meant I had to say goodbye to them. I didn't like that. I want all those marvelous people - including Jonathan Mooney and his deliciously quirky family - in my life always.
About four years ago, Jonathan put out a call for papers from anyone who had a compelling story about the stigma of not being considered normal. I sent him a story about Ashley and an elementary school holiday program in which she was allowed to participate. I will not tell that story here because I want you to buy his book! But, I did write back in January about one of the many questions Jonathan had asked me during research for his book.
Ashley’s story, and the stories of 12 other unique individuals are included in Jonathan’s book. Jonathan bought a short bus and traveled across the United States to meet and spend time with those 13 families. His book is the story of that journey. One of the reviews that I think sums of the book the best is from Dr. Edward Hallowell, an author himself:
"Mooney's is an uplifting, rebellious voice. His book is not just about how he found personal success after growing up with severe learning disabilities, it's the story of his journey to accept himself by finding others labeled 'disabled' or 'not normal' who have survived and even triumphed. This is a remarkable, magical book. Fasten your seat belts."
The Short Bus will be officially released on May 29th, and is available for preorder now through Amazon and most other booksellers. I know I am prejudiced, but I just couldn't put it down. I recommend you all get a copy or borrow a copy soon. As Andrew Imparto, President and CEO of the American Association of People With Disabilities said, "This book should be required reading for anyone who thinks they are in the business of 'helping' or 'serving' people with disabilities."
Mr. Mooney's agent is working real hard to get The Today Show to do a segment on the book. If it happens, Jonathan has asked me to join him. It just doesn't get much better, does it - Ashley featured in a wonderful book and a chance for me to meet Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira!!