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

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3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  93 ratings  ·  18 reviews
No one thought Ben Mattlin would live past childhood. But that didn’t stop him.

Ben Mattlin lives a normal, independent life. Why is that interesting? Because Mattlin was born with spinal muscular atrophy, a congenital weakness from which he was expected to die in childhood. Not only did Mattlin live through childhood, he became one of the first students in a wheelchair to...more
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Published August 1st 2012 by Skyhorse
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Michele
Aug 31, 2012 Michele marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Hearing the author on NPR moved me to laugh and cry. If his book is half as good as his speaking ability, it will be worth reading.
Ashley
Ben Mattlin was born with spinal muscular atrophy and grew up to write a book that has changed my perspective on those with disabilities and impairments forever. There is a great part of me that wants to call this book inspiring but I recall that Ben never wanted to be an inspiration. Throughout his entire life he only wanted to be equal and accepted. He discusses his disability due to spinal muscular atrophy very directly but is sure to convey to the reader that he never let it stand in the way...more
Lee Tyner
Probably more like 3.5 stars. The story is very compelling and very genuine (I sharply disagree with some of the other reviews). It is true that he wasn't always a follower nor agent of the movement, but so what? It's his right, just as it is to an able bodied person. The story is also very revealing and eye opening not just to how he dealt with it, but how society places a stigma on the disabled in ways you may not have considered. This part was with 5 stars. However....

A chronic problem with h...more
Alexis Pullen
Ben Mattlin's memoir of his life as a disabled person with SMA is an engaging, quick read. Despite the subtitle, the book only tangentially follows the disability rights revolution and Mattlin's involvement later in his life. As a child, Mattlin is sheltered from other kids with disabilities, by his affluent, New York family. It's interesting to see how his own prejudices towards disability, as well as blindness towards his own limitations evolves over the span of his life. I enjoyed his perspec...more
Becky Roper
This memoir written by a severely disabled man chronicles his life along with the advances of the disability-rights movement. While not an activist himself, he benefited from, and is most appreciative of the advances. I most enjoyed his clear-eyed telling of the challenges of his life, and I appreciate the thought-provoking suggestions of how we can all deal with the disabled.
Julianne Smith
I am so grateful for miracle boy. I literally just finished it. I'm 32, live in the mid-west and have had SMA all my life. Except for SMA, our backgrounds are quite different. However, I understood much of the experiences Ben Mattlin generously described. I enjoyed the journey he allowed my to follow from childhood, college, parenthood and beyond.
It's rare to find a humorous yet strong voice who speaks about disabilities in a way that is so easily accessible. I'm recommending this book to anyone...more
Mindy
Fascinating memoir. Recommended for those interested in disabilities or who enjoyed Harriet McBryde Johnson's memoir.

(Library Journal review assignment)
Cay
Not very well written. Last 30 pages were better.
Melissa
Miracle Boy Grows Up is a must read for anyone. Ben Mattlin has an incredible ability as a writer to seamlessly weave the many layers of his life into a fabric that is not only a joy to read, but also material rife with life's BIG questions. How do we create true equality in our society? What does equality mean? What does it really mean to be a good parent? We all have our challenges, even physically, but where and why do we decide that some of us are truly "disabled"? Does having what society d...more
Jessica
I feel as if subtitling this book "How the Disability Rights Revolution Saved My Sanity" is a bit disingenuous, as the author admits time and time again that he didn't even notice or care about the disability rights movement until he was in his late 30's-early 40's.

I'm left with "meh" feelings about this book - I admire the narrative of never give up, always ask, be assertive, and don't assume. On the other hand, I'm just left out in the cold and can't really find a connection. I wonder how muc...more
Lizzie
I most enjoyed Mattlin's strong, caustic voice during the raw and raunchy sections of his memoirs, which lifted the curtain on some of the most private aspects of his life. I was expecting a bit more of Movement history- there's not a lot here aside from scattered factoids about contemporary events (including a Judith Heumann shoutout, natch). Mattlin is unsparing and few people come off rosy and fresh- not his deliberately clueless brother, or his occassionally obliviously cruel father, or the...more
Anne
A writer no less than Jay McInerney praises the book and editors at CNN decide to feature Ben Mattlin...I can only add that I could not stop reading "Miracle Boy Grows Up".

In 1982 Ben Mattlin is admitted to a closed creative writing seminar at Harvard - not an easy feat for a sophomore - yet he is aware that he hasn't found his voice yet. 30 years later, writing his book "Miracle Boy Grows Up", he has finally found his voice.

It is a literary voice telling a story worth listening to: Ben Mattlin...more
aizjanika
I rated this book four stars, because the author was able to share his deeply personal story in such a way as to make it seem almost universal. It's a human story--a coming-of-age-and-growing-older story that many will identify with, but he also shares the details that make his story and his perspective unique and compelling. I also enjoyed the parts about the disabled rights movement that were interspersed throughout.

I was bothered quite a bit, though, by the fact that the entire book is writt...more
Shelby
I think it's cool that Mr. Mattlin introduces the reader to some of the big names in 'disability theory'/'disability thought'? I read the first half of the book really quickly, but the second half just started to wear on me for some reason. Someone's life is someone's life, and it doesn't seem right or fair to say that you didn't 'like' their story... but there was just something that bothered me about this book. That being said, I really admire the Mattlin family--especially ML.
Ron
A memior by Ben Mattlin who tells of his life experiences as a victim of spinal muscular atrophy, a crippling nerve affliction that left him completely paralyzed and a quadraplegic. Told with honesty and candor, Mattlin brings into focus the dreadful reality of such a condition, both on himself and his family, but also what can be achieved through will power and determination. An outstanding book.

Kindle book. (L)
Lib Dallman
Just raced through this marvelous book, MIRACLE BOY GROWS UP – by a terrific story-teller! … Thank you, Ben Mattlin, for sharing your life with us. Write more!
Tracey
Aug 31, 2012 Tracey marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended-tcpl
NPR Morning Edition 31 Aug 2012 - interview with author
Therese
$1.99 Kindle Daily Special
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