Title: Laughing at My Nightmare
Author: Shane Burcaw
Recommended for: High school
Call Number/Link: Teen 617.482044 BUR
Synopsis: With acerbic wit and a hilarious voice, Shane Burcaw’s Laughing at My Nightmare describes the challenges he faces as a twenty-one-year-old with spinal muscular atrophy. From awkward handshakes to having a girlfriend and everything in between, Shane handles his situation with humor and a “you-only-live-once” perspective on life. While he does talk about everyday issues that are relatable to teens, he also offers an eye-opening perspective on what it is like to have a life threatening disease.
I didn’t particularly like this one because of how he acts towards those with disabilities. He spent the whole book trying to get the reader to not judge him because of his own,but then went and bashed almost every disabled kid he mentioned. At one point, he describes two of his classmates in gym as smelling like they had “atomic bowel movements simmering in their pants”. I know it’s suppose to be “funny”, but I hate that type of humor & makes me a bit hesitant to recommend it. Although, it was a Non-Fiction Honor award book, so mileage will vary. I also would have loved to hear so much more about his parents/brother as they’re the reason he can even function day to day. However, there are some good points, especially his childhood memories w/friends and his outlook on problems/tackling life. There is a lot of swearing and a bit TMI, but nothing a high school-er couldn’t handle. Also, for what it’s worth, my book group teens loved it. (Although, they did agree w/me that he was a massive jerk.)
How to Sell it/Quick Spiel: Quick, funny, & often entertaining read about a kid surviving spinal muscular atrophy. His various hijinks, such as using his wheelchair and rope to lift his younger brother up to dunk, often get him in trouble.