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I'm Walking as Straight as I Can: Transcending Disability in Hollywood and Beyond
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I'm Walking as Straight as I Can: Transcending Disability in Hollywood and Beyond

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  69 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Born with cerebral palsy, Geri Jewell inspired a generation of young people when she became the first person with a disability to appear in a recurring role on prime-time television, with her groundbreaking character, Cousin Geri, on the NBC sitcom The Facts of Life. The book’s title — I’m Walking As Straight As I Can — has a double meaning, referring to both Jewell’s sexu ...more
Paperback, 252 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by ECW Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

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Amy
Very interesting! Some may remember Geri Jewell as Blair Warner's cousin (who had Cerebral Palsey) on the TV show, Facts of Life back in the 80's. This is her story -- it's part talking about her difficulties over the years with finding work in Hollywood (with her disability) and part recounting her troubles with various addictions. She was often taken advantage of because of her disability and yet, she has found a way to pull herself up "by her bootstraps".

Marie
Thank you, Geri Jewell for sharing your life's journey (up to now). I love novels based on true stories, with strong female protagonists and I especially love non-fiction memoirs by courageous women, such as yourself. There were many times, as I read your story that I thought to myself, "That is so much like what I went through" and "I love it when strange and magical "coincidences" like that happen." Although I am not disabled, I empathized completely with your struggles as you fought to overco ...more
Suzen
There is only so much poor me "I was emotionally immature" and "poor me, I was too trusting" that a person can handle. No one could be that immature and trusting. She hurt too many people in this charade for it to be blamed upon emotional immaturity. It is not possible. I believe she used her disability to her advantage and blamed everyone else for her misfortune. She was perpetually screwing up her life and then had people save her. The book was well written but she is not likable at all. There ...more
TJ
When I started reading this book, I was struck by the preface from Jewell that thanks attributed Nicholson for keeping her on track throughout the process, and laid it out she herself wrote this, and he guided her to the finish line beautifully. I half expected him to have been a ghost writer of sorts and that was clearly not the case. This book is clearly close to Jewell's heart, with such painful memories told in such a forthright and open minded manner that no ghost writer could ever embrace ...more
Ally
Not going to lie. I read this book for the title, which is possibly the most perfect thing ever conceived. I laughed for ten minutes.

I honestly had no idea who Geri Jewell was. I know of Facts of Life, but I'm too young to have watched it. I read it for my own personal reasons, and loved it. Advice; if you're going to read this book, get the audio book. The author reads it herself, and there are moments where she is actually in tears. This is a fairly personal book for me, for pretty obvious rea
...more
Jeri A Estes
This is a must read! Geri's personal journey of independence touches the soul and is empowering. Her bold and honest story of her love affair with a very fickle suitor "show business" is brilliantly depicted.

This is a great Hollywood memoir, it is not a misery memoir filled with self pity and blame. I loved that Geri did not bash her parents nor the religion of her birth.

One of my favorite moments in her book is Geri's encounter with a nun, it begs to be on Saturday night live. It was hysteri
...more
Dayna Verstegen
This is no ordinary celebrity autobiography. Geri Jewell cut a special cloth through the entertainment industry. I remember seeing Geri on Facts of Life when I was a kid; she made Blair and all of us better understand the difference between physical and developmental disabilities a bit better.

I so admire Geri's strength and this book was yet another excellent reminder that a person with a disability doesn't need our sympathy, they deserve our respect. The challenges they face are so much greater
...more
John Quinn
Geri Jewell has written a very honest look back on her life in a powerful memoir that I am sure you'll enjoy. It takes a lot of courage to address some of the issues that Geri openly shares, but Geri does it in a way that is funny, revealing and powerful. Whether you are coming to this book from the entertainment industry, the disability community, GLBT, or just want to read a great memoir, I'm Walking As Straight As I Can provides you with an rare, honest insight into those worlds. Well done, G ...more
Joseph
SHUT UP, BLAIR!

i always loved the fact that blair had a cousin with CP. and i love the fact that she's now an open lesbian and recovering drug addict.

although i do NOT like geri's comedic style (it's a bit unoriginal and stifled), i feel that the book was well written, and contained enough of the "juicy stuff" from her relationship with the girls on the facts of life . . . my dirty little secret.

now . . . if only blair, tootie, jo and natalie wrote their own books . . .
Melissa Baker
I love this book! it was a personal journey of a woman not unlike myself who has cerebral palsy lives her life as an openly gay woman. However, you do not have to be GLBT to love this book. Any parent of a child with a disability should read this along with any teenager with a disability to show that there are now role models who share the same struggles we do as well. This would be a great gift to give for the holiday season or any time.
Deb Halberstadt
Geri Jewell's humor and clear description of life, even without a disability of Cerebral Palsy, is hilarious and heart warming. I know her personally, and yet until reading this book, I had no idea the side of NBC and Facts of Life she experienced as opposed to my experience as an NBC manager.
Pam
I remember Geri from her days on The Facts of Life tv show from when I was a kid. She was always such an inspiration to me, so when I found out she wrote a book I snapped it up.

I was not disappointed. Hers is a very fascinating, very real story. I really enjoyed this book!
Richard Mcmullen
A wonderful story of overcoming adversity and breaking down barriers. Geri's story is well written, funny and uplifting. Loved it!
Djpolman
Awesome book! Very interesting life makes for very interesting book ! Thanks geri for sharing it with us.
Rev
This is a great read and a wonderful author. Highly recommended bio!
Jessica Dwyer
I identified with this book to an amazing degree, and I commend the unbelievable bravery it took to write such a raw and honest review.
This is an amazing resource for disabled youth and young adults, particularly those who may be struggling with their sexuality.
Linda
While I didn't care for the style of writing, I did enjoy the story. I have watched Geri on and off all of my life, being roughly the same age as she is... She clearly has had an interesting and very challenging life. The biggest take away I had from this book is that life is what you make it. It isn't what people think they see of you, but what YOU make of your life that counts. Good for you Geri!! You've gone through some tough times, and have clearly learned from them. Overall an enjoyable re ...more
Penni Groce
Geri Jewell tells her story with a "glass is half full" and "always look on the bright side" perspective. Each day, she wakes up with a disability. But she doesn't allow it to disable her from achieving her goals and pursuing her dreams. This book is encouragement for those with or without a disability to lighten up, think positive and remember that we always have a choice in every circumstance to make the best of it.
Debbie Carnahan-Nichols
If I didn't use my Kindle as a laptop, I would've finished this far sooner. It never keeps its charge like I need it to!
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