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My Dyslexia

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  360 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
An inspiring memoir of a Pulitzer Prize winner's triumph over disability.

Despite winning the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2008, Philip Schultz could never shake the feeling of being exiled to the "dummy class" in school, where he was largely ignored by his teachers and peers and not expected to succeed. Not until many years later, when his oldest son was diagnosed with dys
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published August 29th 2011)
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Jul 31, 2014 Carol rated it it was amazing
This is a little gem of a book. I read the whole book in less than two hours but learned so much about the experience of having dyslexia. Even though Philip Schultz won a Pulitzer Prize for ‘Failure’, a collection of poetry, he did not learn to read until he was eleven years old. He did not even find out that he had dyslexia until he was 58! He learned that he had it when his son was diagnosed with it.

Before reading this, I wondered how a man with dyslexia could become a poet. For me it is a ve
Dec 12, 2011 Kathleen rated it really liked it
Philip Schultz is telling me what it's like to be one of the students I tutor. He was a terrible student, often in trouble in school. He couldn't read. No one thought he'd end up a poet -- let alone a Pulitzer Prize winner. He'd been led to think of his predicament as a mix of stupidity and cussedness, with a tinge of insanity. I've always been the opposite -- what my mom called a "bookworm." I naturally turned to writing and then teaching. People like me are often reading teachers, and we can't ...more
David Hornik
Dec 21, 2012 David Hornik rated it it was amazing
This book literally changed my life. For years I have dismissed the impact dyslexia has had on my life. I have been happy to sweep it under the rug. But as I read this book on an airplane I found myself weeping. Philip Schultz captures the challenges, the pain, and maybe even the joy, of growing up with dyslexia. A hugely important read for anyone with dyslexia and any parent of a dyslexic.
Flora Smith
Sep 18, 2011 Flora Smith rated it really liked it
This is an interesting look into the life of a dyslexic. Philip Schultz talks about his life as he was growing up as a child with an undiagnosed learning disability. He described how it felt to be bullied and made fun of by other students because of his inability to learn to read. And he described his determination to learn to cope and overcome his dyslexia. It was interesting to me to learn that how much more there is to dyslexia besides difficulty reading such as difficulty telling time on an ...more
Jan 20, 2013 Huda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dyslexic father of a dyslexic child. This memoir shows how important it is for a person to understand and accept their own disability. Is it ever too late to accept what you are and what you have??

The father had a life where nothing made sense to him; he would read a poem and jump to the other without even noticing something was wrong. He didn't know why he was constantly bullied, why students used to shy away from him or avoid sitting next to him. He sounds relieved whenever he mentions his s
Nov 07, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it
This book made me so appreciate the support that learning disabled children get at our school. It's a very quick read, and inspiring to learn all he overcame with his determination to be a writer.
Sam Sattler
Aug 19, 2012 Sam Sattler rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Philip Schultz’s story will inspire and encourage anyone whose life has been impacted by dyslexia. Schultz, who did not learn to read until he was eleven, did not discover he was himself dyslexic until he compared his own reading difficulties to those of his young son, a confirmed sufferer of the condition. Today, despite his continuing struggle with language skills, Philip Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet. His remarkable story and insights into dealing with dyslexia can be found in My ...more
Feb 17, 2012 Emily rated it it was amazing
I heard Mr Schultz interviewed on the radio, NPR naturally, and couldn't leave the car until it was over. I tuned in as he was describing having taught himself to read at the age of 11, using comic books. I and, much more so, my son are dyslexic and comic books are his salvation. So much of what he said resonated with me and the traits and tendencies I see in my son. I ordered the book the minute I walked into the house.

I have seen, in some of the other reviews, complaints that the book is too s
Hmm, I guess I wanted to know less about how dyslexia affected him emotionally and more the nitty gritty. I believe he also has Dyscalculia as he talks about trouble "reading" a clock. This is more a visual spacial issue, trouble with numbers and ordering. After hearing of he and his son arguing whether the maps is "saying" to turn left or right, also visual spacial not word oriented. Frequently dyslexia and dyscalculia or visual spacial issues can go hand in hand. Just as dyslexia affects us in ...more
Jun 13, 2012 Deanna rated it liked it
Short, disjointed, and occasionally poignant, with some truly beautiful sentiments tucked here and there. In lieu of a review, I'll just post some of my favorites:

"Judaism is a world constituted almost entirely of language...It's a world of passion for its own history of laws and faith and learning -- all recorded in a language invented out of this very passion. It's a language derived directly out of the heart of the mind and translated and coded in music indigenous only to itself -- the infini
St Fu
May 18, 2016 St Fu rated it it was ok
There were times when I thought I would have to give this book only 1 star and I felt bad because the author was so vulnerable to slights that I felt he needed my protection. It was the last chapter which saved it for me.

It is the story of a man at odds with his culture believing the culture is right and that he is wrong. With insufficient insight into his situation, he attributes all his difficulties to his dyslexia when actually, most of them were the result of the horrible 50s American cultur
Jane Wetzel
Oct 26, 2012 Jane Wetzel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
A very interesting book. There are so many learning disorders found in so many stages these days. It makes one realize how important it is to recognize and be sympathetic with such people, their needs and particularly their potential. We probably all have some shortcomings in the learning department. I am glad to know that most schools today are not as blind to the issue and to the bullying as in Schultz's day. That was almost unbelievable. Where I went to school in the 40's and 50's it was ...more
Lane Willson
Nov 12, 2012 Lane Willson rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
I greatly enjoyed this book. My own dyslexia was first suggested when as a college student I had some testing to help me decide what to be when I grew up. Although I didn't really believe it at the time, I was ready to embrace anything that pointed to a problem other than my new found love of drinking. However, years later, once I had decided I wanted to be sober, I noticed for the first time confirmation of what had been hinted at nearly a decade earlier. I have a moderate level of dyslexia ...more
Great read. Schultz is arguably a living paradox to many - a prize winning author/poet with dyslexia. With acute awareness he explains how his neuropsychological differences are ultimately a virtue where creativity, and a sensitive analysis of experience are required, such as in poetry. He not only describes his relationship to the written word but how the convoluted dyslexic-mind pervades one's whole existence day-to-day - from the outset he names that dyslexia and anxiety go hand-in-hand for ...more
Andrea Motas
Jan 28, 2016 Andrea Motas rated it it was amazing
4). As Good As Gold

The book "My Dyslexia" by Philip Schultz is a memoir, which is narrative non-fiction. Not only did I get to see from the author's perspective and hear his life story, but I also learned many interesting facts about dyslexia and other aspects included in his life that I don't really know much about, such as the Jewish culture. Of course, the idea that dyslexia greatly affected his life in almost every way is a consistent theme, but it is not painfully repetitive as each little
Oct 31, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Very rarely does one get a chance to get inside the brain, heart and daily struggles of the dyslexic child/adult. Phillip shares both child experiences and adult struggles with his dyslexia. Not knowing he had dyslexia until in his 50's, gives Philip Schultz a unique look at his experiences from childhood on as he compares those with his son and others who knew from early childhood and were given support. In his discovery, he found his home among people where he felt comfortable. He also found ...more
Michelle Randall
Oct 04, 2011 Michelle Randall rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
My oldest child has struggled with reading and school all his life, and we fought to get him tested for learning issues, only to be told that he is not dyslexic but there is something up, and to then fight to get services for him.

I got this book from Goodreads FirstReads Giveaway, and was pleased. I thought it might help me understand the issues and what was going on. And to be honest, I did learn alot.

It is written by a Noble Prize winning poet, who just happens to have dyslexia, but only learn
Jul 20, 2014 Kelly rated it really liked it
"Words failed, then saved me".

As an English teacher and librarian, how can I not love a book that offers this line? The story is not new; there are many books written by dyslexics who chronicle their trials and tribulations. This very short one is a bit different because the author is a Pulitzer Prize winning poet, and he didn't realize he was dyslexic until he saw his own son struggle with school. I've never read Schultz's poetry, so I liked the fact that he included poetry in this memoir along
Nov 24, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-books
When I read a book that is this well-written, I hesitate to review it for fear my writing will not do it justice. So, forgive my writing, but trust me, Schultz is an exceptional writer. I'm always reading something about learning differences because of the work I do. Dyslexia is widely known as a reading disability, but it truly is a LANGUAGE difference. Reading may be tough, as it was for Schultz, but it may not be tough for a dyslexic person. It may just be spelling that's tough, or math, or ...more
Dec 30, 2013 Kyla rated it liked it
I wanted to read this book for a very personal reason: my fiancé has dyslexia. Although I've known on a factual level the "basics" of the learning disability, I wanted to find a way to get into the dyslexic mind to better understand the emotional challenges involved. Schultz shares his own struggles in such a way that a non-dyslexic reader can easily relate them to their own experiences. My fiancé and I have learned over the years how to manage his dyslexia both individually and as a team, but ...more
Dec 14, 2011 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir, poetry
This book is more of an extended essay than a full book, which Schultz states in the preface, but this is why I gave it three stars. It didn't really go to the places that a fully developed memoir goes. And, the book ends sort of randomly when I was wanting more.

As an English teacher, I found Schultz's experiences enlightening and learned much about the experience of being dyslexic. It was inspiring and heartening to read about Schultz's determination and later successes as well. It found it int
Aug 29, 2012 Robert rated it liked it
I'm moderately dyslectic so I found the book interesting. It sounds like he was in the dummy reading group for ever. I was in the dummy reading group for only a couple of years and I loved it. We had three classrooms with almost 50 kids in each--and their were three reading groups, the fish, the frogs, and something else. Then there were the special kids--we ten (from all three class rooms) had a special reading class, and we would fall out of our chairs and stuff for the whole hour. Philip ...more
Aug 02, 2012 Verna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book on audio and it was a very pleasant and informative experience. I have a grandson with dyslexia and this is why I wanted to read the book to learn more about the disorder. I think this is an excellent book for anyone to read to understand the problem. My heart bled for the little boy who suffered so much with no idea of what was happening to him. My mind soared with admiration and respect for the man who was able to overcome his difficulties with little help from others. ...more
Mar 07, 2013 Cathy rated it liked it
It's unfair of me to judge this book by what I thought it would be about, so I'm trying my best not to. I thought it would mostly be about what reading, writing, and thinking were like as a dyslexic. It's not about that. This book is about the feelings a dyslexic person had growing up - not knowing he was dyslexic. How it made him feel stupid, unimportant, and frustrated. He he rebelled, withdrew, and - eventually - coped with his learning disability.

I probably would not have read this book if I
Jun 01, 2013 Vilo rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
A Pulitzer prize winning poet who was not diagnosed until late in life discusses his childhood, the marks that being considered dumb left upon his soul, and the path forged by someone determined to express himself despite all odds. Before the diagnosis Schultz rarely discussed his difficulties, leading to some misunderstandings and distance between himself and friends. A fascinating part was how he felt his dyslexia had affected his religious life. Learning languages was difficult for him and ...more
Apr 09, 2012 Estie rated it it was ok
This book reads almost like a collection of several long essays rather then a memoir. It discusses the authors childhood, and bits and pieces of his adulthood in the face of a severe dyslexia. Many aspects of his life are explored and described through the lens of dyslexia, although sometimes it feels as if he is trying too hard to interpret all of his actions through this lens. The language is surprisingly un-poetic considering the author is a Pulitzer prize winning poet, and it is fairly ...more
Jan 14, 2012 AnnaClaire rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
This is a beautifully written memoir from an award winning author who has dyslexia.

Although this book doesnt waver from the story of Schultz' dyslexia, it touches on a lot of different aspects of his life; he talks about the trauma of being bullied and ostracized in school, feeling guilty of not being able to read Hebrew at a family sader, the embarrassment of being held back as well as the toll it took on his mother, his teaching style and the writing school he formed, and making sure both of
Dec 15, 2011 Anna rated it it was ok
I appreciated Schultz's effort here, I only wish there'd been more: more scene, more access to the interior life of someone who lives with dyslexia, more use of his poetic skill. This book is more about Schultz discovering the fact of his disability through his own son's diagnosis, and the liberty Schultz feels in that discovery. He captures well some moments of confusion and the inferiority complex that inevitably results, but I felt held at arms length when it came to really understanding what ...more
Jul 30, 2012 Lynn rated it it was ok
This book did not live up to my expectations. Since the author is a Pulitzer Prize winning poet, I was expecting a poetic memoir, but I feel like I got a collection of basic essays. At times I felt like Schultz still sees himself as that falsely labeled "dumb kid" and worked too hard to prove to us he is intelligent by throwing in quotations from famous writers and citing lines of his own poetry. It was still interesting to see how his dyslexia frames his world, and how he has dealt with his ...more
Alexander Briggs
Feb 23, 2014 Alexander Briggs rated it really liked it
I would hope that if you are dyslexic you least listen to this novel. If you know someone close to you that has dyslexia this is having to read or listen to the novel.
This only novel that I have a moment filled with tears. I related to the battles and everyday challenges that reflected in this book. After reading it remember there are 21+ million bind individuals in the world. There are over 300+ million diagnose dyslexic. If you don't have it. You will not understand how it changes the world. Y
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Philip Schultz is the author of seven collections of poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Failure. He is the founder and director of the Writers Studio and lives in East Hampton, New York.
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