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Like Any Normal Day: A Story of Devotion

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  171 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
Winner of the 2013 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing, Like Any Normal Day is a profound, powerful narrative of a golden boy's tragedy, a woman's unlived life, and a brother's complicated devotion.

In the mid-1970s, brothers Buddy and Jimmy Miley were close, both on the verge of impressive athletic careers. A promising high school quarterback, Buddy's potential was
ebook, 272 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by St. Martin's Press
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Carol  MacInnis
Mar 27, 2012 Carol MacInnis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I won this book from a contest on Goodreads.

When Albert Miley was a young man, his biggest thrill was to play football which he excelled at and when he had boys of his own, he passed this passion on to them. Of his three sons, Buddy was the one who definately had it in him to make it to the pros along with his younger brother, Jimmy. Buddy was 17 years old when he was playing in a high school team in Pennsylvania in 1973 when he was hit, hard, and Buddy landed on his neck. The injury resulted in
Jun 05, 2012 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being from the same town, and knowing several people profiled in this book, I was fairly knowledgeable regarding the Buddy Miley story. That being said, I learned a lot of details about the tragic injury that clarified all that Buddy had to endure. It is a very sad and inspiring story. Buddy's mother Rosemarie is indeed a living Saint. No doubt, anyone who was blessed to come across Buddy became touched by his bravery.
May 02, 2012 Doreen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an advance reading copy through the Goodreads First Reads program.

This biography tells the story of Buddy Miley, a promising athlete who at 17 became a quadriplegic after a football accident. The book details the struggles of Buddy and his family after the "'dark day'" (63). For almost a quarter century, Buddy was totally immobilized and dependent on others for care and in constant pain. With the help of his brother Jimmy he sought out Dr. Jack Kevorkian to assist him in committing su
Apr 19, 2012 Waven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Buddy Miley's life changed suddenly and unexpectedly, and what began like any normal day became a day that divided his life into "before" and "after." Buddy's little brother Jimmy became one of his closest allies, a wellspring of humor and support whose efforts were surpassed only by their mother's unerring devotion. But Jimmy also faced a pivotal day of "before" and "after" with the potential to destroy his family, a day that also began like any other.

This touching story of love and pain, hope
Mar 27, 2012 Robin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Received this book from Goodreads as a giveaway. Started it last night and just finished a minute ago. A gut wrenching story of the love of a devoted family for their quadrapleglic son and brother and that boy's bravery to face life as it came to be until he just couldn't do it anymore. An extremely well written and emotional true story - get the tissues.
Nov 22, 2013 April rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Book from goodreads first reads giveaways. The story is very sad, and even though the people in it give it an uplifting spirit, it still just seemed too depressing. It is good to know, however, that there are still good people in the world.

The ultimate irony of Jack Kevorkian’s life must be the nature of his death.

On June 3, 2011, Kevorkian died of pulmonary thrombosis, a blood clot in the lungs, at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. Geoffrey Feiger, Kevorkian’s longtime lawyer and advocate, told The New York Times in 1995, “He’ll lie and say he isn’t. But he is. He’s scared to death (of death).” Kevorkian lived to the age of 83, but none of his ancestors made it past 70, and
Chris Demer
Sep 03, 2013 Chris Demer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This is the thoughtfully told tragic story of a high school kid who suffered a broken neck and subsequent quadriplegia -playing football.

The story centers around the Miley family, a family of sports fans and athletic abilities. Buddy, the quarterback for William Tennent High School, was severely injured in a game with Plymouth-Whitemarsh. This event occurred in 1974, when diagnosis and treatment of spinal cord injuries were not as sophisticated as today. Unfortunately, the care he received wasn
cEe beE
Sep 06, 2012 cEe beE rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So very sad, sad, sad.

Like Any Normal Day is the tragic true story of Buddy Miley who in 1973 became a quadruplegic after getting injured during his high school football game. He was only 17 years old.

I am not a sports fan but I am aware that American football is a dangerous contact sport with players frequently getting injured, often seriously. Back in Buddy's day, it was even more perilous. Young players were trained to use their heads as battering rams. Boys crashed helmets against each othe
Apr 23, 2012 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book tells the story of Buddy Miley who was hurt during a high school football game and became a quadriplegic as a result of his injuries. Buddy and his family's lives were forever changed as they struggled to deal with day to day life afterwards.

This book was tragic. For me, reading a story about a young man confined to a wheelchair who never even got a chance to truly experience life was not easy. I felt so bad for Buddy when he realized that he wouldn't be playing sports again or even be
In the 1970's Buddy Miley was an impressive high school athlete, one with prospects of a promising college career and a possible pro career ahead of him. And then, in one football game his junior season, it all ends. Buddy injured his spinal cord and became a quadriplegic. Relying on his family for everything, Buddy somehow holds onto hope.

His youngest brother, Jimmy, shared Buddy's athletic talent and was closest to Buddy. Jimmy took Buddy to special hospitals, clinics, even to holy shrines in
Mar 26, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Non-fiction lovers
It's 2:30 AM on a Thursday, and I couldn't stop reading until I finished this book. This book is moving and fascinating. It is a biography that is told via an outside writer, Mark Kram, Jr. Buddy had everything going for him until a football injury left him completely dependent on his family and with painful spasms. Jimmy was the baby of the family that did not understand what paralysis meant and grew up wanting to make his brother laugh. The part of this book that really surprised me was the fa ...more
Mar 27, 2012 Jess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Can't wait to read this one! :) I just won it through one of the Goodreads "First reads" giveaways, so the mail can't get here soon enough!

Okay, I got this ARC in the mail yesterday, and have already finished reading it. I found this book one of those that "you just can't put down." This was a very personal and intimate look into the life of an everyday American family and how they continued on with life after a debilitating, life-altering sports injury. Mark Kram, Jr. does a great job in paint
Dale Stonehouse
Mar 27, 2012 Dale Stonehouse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Goodreads for the Advance Reading Copy.
In addition to the compelling story of young athlete Buddy Miley becoming a quadriplegic, the reader is treated to three unforgettable characters. There is Buddy, who was a star athlete when high school athletics were a significant entertainment option, a little cocky on the field and able to back it up; his younger brother Jimmy, who idolized Buddy and made his life into one of service to Buddy; and the transcendent Karen, Buddy's high school cla
Suzanne Revers
Jan 01, 2013 Suzanne Revers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really good book. I liked the way the author covered all the various family members and their "journey" as Buddy traveled his. Also, loved the idea that it was the author's first book. I liked that he is a sports writer. Rather unusual. He was so able to capture the heart of the story. I didn't know sports writers could do that in such an intimate way. The book is dark, and very sad, but I liked learning about his real sorrow in life. I am left wondering though why was there not someone in his l ...more
Mar 27, 2012 Therese rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway
Thanks first to GoodReads First Reads for this exceptional biography, and Mark Kram Jr.
"Like Any Normal Day" is about a day that stopped time and lives with an accident on a high school football field. It ended everything that should have been for a seventeen year old boy, and injured and forever altered the progression through the rest of their days of those nearest him. Buddy barely survived, and was left a quadriplegic, completely dependent on the care of others and suffering bouts of intens
Oct 25, 2012 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW! I could not put this book down. It was an emotional read throughout. If you have a son who loves the game of football, like I do, it may be difficult. I realize times have changed, preventive measures have been put in place and medical personnel are better trained but things happen. I pray my family never has to experience something like this.

Without giving anything away, the medical advancements that have taken place over the years for paralyzed patients is unreal. The sacrifices and devot
Nov 14, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engrossing, extremely depressing (to me) book about a guy who was injured playing high school football and left a quadriplegic. Ends up many years later getting Jack Kevorkian to help him in an assisted suicide. Much of the focus is the impact on his little brother he enlisted to help with the arrangements with Kevorkian, plus the high school girlfriend he remained in love with till the end even as she moved away, married someone else and had kids, etc. etc.

Last chapter elaborates author's negat
Stacie Cregg
Aug 15, 2012 Stacie Cregg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book through the Goodreads First Reads program.

This book tells the true story of Buddy Miley, a high school quarterback who sustained a spinal cord injury during a game. The author, Mark Kram Jr, paints a real and poignant picture of Buddy's life: his hardships as a quadriplegic, the relationships with old friends and members of his family; in particular, his brother Jimmy and high school friend Karen, and eventually, Buddy's assisted suicide.

Despite the sad and perhaps troubling
Maureen Stanton
Nov 28, 2012 Maureen Stanton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a powerful story told by a journalist who first wrote an article about this boy's tragic football injury. It's a heartbreaking story and should give everyone pause about the rate of head, neck, brain, and spinal cord injuries in football. Also, this involves issues of choosing to die, so makes for a provocative case study. While the story is gripping and you feel as if you come to know the main people in the story, I would have wished for a bit more context and background about football ...more
Anne Johnson
Sep 28, 2012 Anne Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So many times when we read about Dr. Kevorkian, we get the story from this point of view. This fast-moving story gives us the other side of the coin: a probing look into the suffering of one young man who became a patient of Kevorkian's. Buddy Miley was a cocky high school quarterback with the world at his fingertips -- until one fateful football play put him into a wheelchair for life, unable to use even his hands. Mark Kram Jr. shows us Buddy's ordeal as well as the sacrifices made by his fami ...more
Khris Sellin
May 26, 2013 Khris Sellin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of Buddy Miley, a promising young athlete from the suburbs of Philly, who is injured in a high school football game and suffers a spinal cord injury which leaves him a quadriplegic at age 17, in 1974. A heartbreaking story about what life was like for him and his family in the ensuing years, and how he finally recruits his brother Jimmy, the person closest to him, to help him contact Dr. Kevorkian and finally put an end to it all after over 20 years of excruciating pain and depression. ...more
I picked this book up at the library after remembering the cover photo from a brief review in Sports Illustrated.

This was definitely "a story of devotion" as the subtitle says. The care and love of Buddy's family and friends is what kept him alive and active for 20 years after his football injury.

It was hard to read about the injury and the care Buddy received immediately after. To think if he was properly immobilized he might have regained more movement. Or if he went to a more compassionate r
Apr 05, 2012 Meyka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Goodreads for the Advance Reading Copy.

I found this book one of those that "you just can't put down." Buddy is a talented young athlete that becomes a quadriplegic when tackled during a game. After years of emotional & physical suffering, Buddy decides he is no longer willing or able face life as it is and will continue to be. The resolution to end his life and its result is heart wrenching.

It is a powerful story of love; beautifully describing the burden and damage a family exper
Uwe Hook
Nov 17, 2012 Uwe Hook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Your big brother, once the high school football hero you idolized, now has been a quadriplegic for nearly a quarter century after an on-field injury. He asks you to arrange for his death -- with the help of Dr. Jack Kevorkian. How do you respond?

This is the true story of those brothers and the people around them, a love story in many unconventional ways. It's not a tearjerker; Kram doesn't go overboard trying for emotion. He doesn't need to; the meticulously reported story speaks for itself. Thi
Jun 24, 2013 Fred rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-fiction
This wasn't really my normal type of book but I have been meaning to read it for so long that I finally had to settle in and get it done. This was pretty good all things considered, I like the writer's style even though the genre wasn't my thing. It was an emotional roller coaster to tell you the truth, and something that I can't imagine having to go through myself. I have a massive amount of respect for people who are forced to make the type of decision that was thrust upon the character in thi ...more
Mar 27, 2012 P rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this in a first reads giveaway. It is, as the subtitle suggests an amazing "story of devotion." Buddy Miley, the promising hs quarterback with an admiration for Joe Namath, suffers a devastating injury during a football game in the fall of 1973. Mishandled immediately after the incident, he is left completely helpless, dependent upon someone else for every possible need. While the book focuses on Buddy's suffering over the next nearly two and a half decades, it is the story of his incredib ...more
Apr 07, 2012 Gayle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Thank you St. Martin's Press and Goodreads Giveaways for the gift of Mark Kram Jr.'s 'Like Any Normal Day: A Story of Devotion.' I'm excited to receive, read and review.

Some families endure such sadness. A compelling story of a family's tragedy, despair, devotion and love.

This was a well written, ( minus the grammatical errors ) true story of Buddy Miley and his younger brother, Jimmy. It was moving, heart-wrenching and overwhelmingly filled with the love of a family.

I highly recommend this bo
Jul 20, 2012 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A memoir about a promising high school athlete named Buddy Miley whose potential was cut short when he was paralyzed in a football game in the early 1970s and rendered a quadriplegic. It's the story of how his injury impacted his family over the decades that followed, until Buddy makes an "appointment" date with Dr. Kevorkian. (Since it's mentioned in the first chapter, it's not giving anything away to talk about that detail.) Since the book was written by a newspaper journalist who covered Budd ...more
Mar 27, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a privledge is was to read the story of the Miley family. Thank you Mark Kram Jr. for sharing a true story of love, courage, commitment and the true meaning of self sacrifice. My heart felt, thanks to the Miley family and friends for sharing their deepest pain, joys & thoughts so that we all could know the "true struggle" of Buddy and the absolute love between brothers...Jimmy is my hero in this book, unselfish in every way. Rosemarie well, what can be said about a mothers am ...more
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Work by Mark Kram Jr. has appeared in The Best American Sports Writing (Houghton Mifflin) six times: 2011, 2008, 2005, 2003, 2002 and 1994. The Society of Professional Journalists honored him with the 2011 Sigma Delta Chi Award for feature writing. The Associated Press Sports Editors have awarded him first place prizes for feature writing in 2008 and for explanatory reporting in 2009 and 2010. Wit ...more
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