Author Shane Burcaw goes against the odds and stereotypes of his disability and shows readers how to be positive
and enthusiastic about life.
BY ALISA WILLIAMS
Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw is a timeline of the author’s life where he walks readers through his experiences while living with Skeletal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Burcaw is able to successfully retell his life story through humor (and a lot of curse words), which makes reading this funny book enjoyable for those who do not get offended easily. Burcaw recalls pivotal life moments, such as starting his blog that currently has over 500,000 followers, and moments where he discusses his fears such as being left alone with no one to help him get out of his bed. Burcaw goes against the odds and stereotypes of his disability and shows readers how to be positive and enthusiastic about life.
Throughout the book, readers will soon realize that Burcaw has no filter. He is very open about his experiences
(including his first sexual experience). Although this may be an uncomfortable topic for some parents to think about, it is a good reminder that people with disabilities have the same needs that people without disabilities have.
However, there are some funny parts in the book that will make readers really love theauthor and his family. Burcaw describes his day-to-day routines and how his family helps him. They help him anywhere, from lifting him out of the bed to helping him go to the bathroom. He is very appreciative of his family and has learned to cope with the fact that he will have to rely on someone to help him his whole life. He talks about the many hilarious situations that he gets put in with his friends, like the time he used his wheelchair as a pulley system to help his friends dunk a basketball. He states in the book that his parents wanted him to have the most normal life possible and for people to not just know him as being in a wheelchair, but also to recognize his personality as well.
Burcaw has a very fun personality that shows throughout the book. He can be very sarcastic and surrounds himself with people that have the same personality. He can make jokes about the way his body looks by calling himself a “T-Rex in a wheelchair” or make jokes about how his head will slide back on his headrest to where he has to ask complete strangers to fix it for him. He has a very positive outlook on his disability and it is very inspiring.
This book is eye-opening and inspiring because it lets the readers into the life of someone with a disability, but also teaches them that no one has to be defined by it. Burcaw not only shows the hardships of having a disability, but
also how to cope with it and not let it stop him from doing what he wants to do.•
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alisa Williams is currently attending University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Dept. of Social Work.