Miracle Boy Grows Up: How the Disability Rights Revolution Saved My Sanity

Skyhorse, dist. by Norton. Aug. 2012. c.208p. ISBN 9781616087319. $24.95. HEALTH
NPR commentator and freelance writer Mattlin was born with spinal muscular atrophy, a hereditary neurological disorder. He was not expected to live long—about half of the infants who show symptoms of SMA do not live past age two—but Mattlin was one of the lucky ones simply because he lives. This memoir details how he does so, including all the nitty-gritty details that curious readers will find themselves wondering about. He relates the circumstances of his life to the disability rights movement and shows how he benefited from the work of activists to create a world in which he was able to succeed. Mattlin is candid about his challenges (e.g., finding a job, hiring attendants) but he isn't looking for pity, just understanding. He explains, "Whatever I accomplish will not be despite my disability but with it."
VERDICT The level of detail in the book may limit the audience to readers with an interest in some aspect of disability, but those who do pick up this memoir will find a unique perspective that compares with Harriet McBryde Johnson's Too Late to Die Young: Nearly True Tales from a Life.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing