Saturday, March 24, 2007


Just came across this blog review and thought I'd pass it along. Also, stay tune for The Montel Williams Show, coming up soon. Details to follow

Sunday, March 18, 2007
Buy This Book

The Best Seat in the House by Allen Rucker

If you've followed this blog, you know that I have never before posted an image or (I think) a link.

I started reading this in the bookstore yesterday. Despite my usually pinched budget, I'm going to find a way to buy it.

What he says isn't that new or isn't a lot of news, but it is one guy's way of coping with a disability. A guy who has a sense of humor, tremendous candor, and an innate writing ability, all three of which are usually lacking in 'disability memoirs'.

It's ten years post-injury for him, too, which brings a lot of perspective and acceptance with it. I didn't read the entire book, but I never once caught a glimpse of the "I swear I'm going to walk again" delusional fire.

He talks a lot about five years of dark nights of the soul, nights alone in the hospital and rehab when he faced the demons that had been chasing him his whole life - how at two years old, he held himself accountable for his father's death, his on-again, off-again successes as a Hollywood writer and the years of quiet terror he and his wife endured as he tried to catch hold of success, only to have it slip from his fingers.

This is another reason why AB men hold no particular fascination for me. Everybody has demons, large or small. Most people have the choice or delusion that they can keep running from them. When you can't run, you have to turn and look at them squarely.

If you're a wheeler, you'll probably recognize the usual crap he has to go through, including a harrowing scene where he challenges a mentally-unstable woman parked in a handicap parking spot and no other spaces are available. And it's so gratifying to see that in the end, the cops came and got her and hauled her ass to jail, something you've probably never seen.

The writing is smooth and clear, the humor at just the right times. If I lived in LA, I'd ask to meet him at Starbucks for cup of coffee. Because I haven't yet run into an inaccessible Starbucks and I'd like to spend a couple of hours just talking to him.

A book that makes you want to talk to the author is the best kind of book there is, and Allen Rucker has written one.

Posted by Jenny Junipero at 5:32 AM 0 comments
Labels: Allen Rucker, memoir, transverse myelitis

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Just back -- okay, a week back – from my first visit to a major rehab facility to talk about the book and my general take on life after paralysis. I spent a day at the Jim Thorpe Rehab Center in Oklahoma City and it was a great time. I spoke to patients and staff at both of their branches in OKC and spent a wonderful evening visiting with many of the doctors at the art-filled home of the center’s director, Dr. Al Moorad.

This was a first for me – interacting with a group of patients with many kinds of neurological conditions, from spinal cord injuries to Guillain-Barre Syndrome and the manifestations of stroke. I’ve spent most of my paralyzed life speaking with people who only fear a catastrophic malady like this. Talking to members of the same club was refreshing and rewarding. They had as many horror stories as I did and seemed to enjoy pitching them back and forth.

Many thanks to all who made this visit happen: Dr. Moorad, Phil Lance, Dr. Charlie Bethea, Courtney McLaughlin, and a dozen others.

Also did a long interview with Neal Conan on “Talk of the Nation” on NPR two weeks ago – go to and check out the TOTN archives for 2/28, if you’re interested. Again, the stories from disabled callers were insanely spot-on. One blind woman talked about getting “honey-ed and sweety-ed” to death everything she visited the doctor. A paralytic told about the time a good Samartian “helped” him down a flight of stairs he was managing just fine on his own. The upshot: both men tumbled down the staircase and one wheelchair got demolished. The Samaritan’s parting line: “Boy, you’re lucky I was here to help!”

This week I head to New York for a taped appearance on the Montel Williams Show to air a week or two hence. I’ll probably end up telling the story I just recited above. Or a hundred others I’ve gathered from all the people writing this site. Thanks to all. Your emails are better than a hundred mainstream reviews.