Tuesday, February 21, 2012

An Overview of my Memoir

It's Easier to Dance, a memoir, by Annie Laurie Harris, a woman of African American Heritage, born with cerebral palsy, depicts the highlights, turning points and crossroads of her life while living with a complex,  disability. Cerebral palsy is a neurological birth defect that can impair the function of any part of the brain. In her case, her brilliant intellect exists concurrently with lack of muscle coordination and significant speech impairment as well as difficulty in swallowing and performing everyday tasks. Ms. Harris tells in detail of the struggle to learn to take care of herself, earn professional credentials, work in profit and non-profit organizations, and becoming a contributing member of her community.

Her vast experience and engaging personality jump off the pages as you read the compelling account of the highlights of her interesting life. Having studied dance while in graduate school and preformed with a group with varying abilities, the author uses the title to suggest dancing is easier than navigating one's way through the systems that provide necessary services for persons with a variety of challenges.

As the title suggests, there is a sense of movement throughout the book. One gets to "see" an insecure child in the 1950's, a teenager during the civil rights movement, an honors student at a major university. A sense of history is woven throughout the book as the author dates and defines major legislation that makes the world more physically accessible.

Ms. Harris writes in such a way that may allow anyone who has faced a significant challenge, past or present, feel engaged in a conversation. Depending on the reader's life, she or he may feel understood, perhaps for the first time. It is my sincere hope that many will be encouraged and find strength to meet whatever struggles are present in their lives.

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