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Trapped: My Life with Cerebral Palsy

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  1,115 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Living in the Belgian Congo with her husband in the 1960s, Fran’s mother became pregnant with a daughter. However, right after she gave birth in the hospital, she felt strange. Unbeknownst to anyone, another daughter was on the way, but before anybody responded, an hour had passed. Because of the delay, Fran was born with cerebral palsy.

Growing up with her siblings in Afri
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published March 4th 2014 by Skyhorse
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  1,115 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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May 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Lilo by: Frank Kusy

This book is a strikingly honest memoir telling about the author’s life with cerebral palsy.

Coping physically with a disability is challenging enough. Add to this coping with the emotional part. Add to this the problems interacting with other people—people without disabilities.

What do people without disabilities know about what it feels like to live with disabilities? The answer is: very little!

And this is where the interaction problems begin. People are cruel, people are tactless, people are in
Tod Schneider
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing

The best of memoirs do a number of things well – they give us intimate views of others’ lives, they enlighten us with more personal perspectives on historical eras or social issues, and, in the best of cases, they reaffirm our shared humanity. Fran Macilvey’s touching memoir, Trapped—My Life With Cerebral Palsy, in which she lays bare her struggles and successes, succeeds on all counts.

Fran’s life was launched in an exotic setting under dramatic circumstances--she was conceived in the Belgian Co
Frank Kusy
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I can count the books I have been truly inspired by on the fingers of one hand. Trapped is one of those books. And the funny thing is, I didn't see it coming. I had first read it as a fledgling project on the Authonomy site for aspiring writers, and though great, I had only skim-read the first few chapters, I hadn't got hooked. Then the author sent me a personal hardback copy and I thought `Oh, how wonderful, but I haven't got time for this, I know, I'll just skim-read the rest and tell her how ...more
Ann Warner
Mar 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fran MacIlvey's indomitable spirit shines from every page of her memoir, Trapped. Although born with cerebral palsy, which makes walking and many other physical activities a struggle and a constant challenge for her, Fran loves to run and to dance, something she has learned to do both literally and figuratively.

By sharing her journey, Fran has illuminated the path we all must walk whether we have a physical disability or not. It made me stop and think about how I've approached people with physic
Sue Moorhouse
Dec 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, a well written account of life with Cerebral Palsy, which is never depressing or sorry for itself. There is humour and a very vivid portrayal. Recommended!¬
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Although beset with problems of low self-esteem caused by her condition and the attitudes of people around her, Fran has been an indomitable spirit throughout. A determination that shows no bounds and that has got her to a place where she can live with her condition without being confined to a wheelchair.
Fran's way of bringing you into her world takes you there completely. Her descriptions of people and places are vivid. I did not feel sad when reading this memoir, which is tragic in parts. I
Andrew Marshall
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
At face value, "Trapped" is a personal account of life with cerebral palsy, from birth to present day; but it is so much more than that. Fran writes with great honesty even though she admits to having hidden her feelings for most of her life. What surprised me was that without knowing what her experiences were really like for her – no-one can truly understand those of another human being –it was possible to relate to so many of them. The value for me as a reader was not so much Fran's life story ...more
Julie Haigh
May 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of memoirs, medical memoirs, medical conditions, Africa
Recommended to Julie by: Won a copy of this book
Wonderful, beautifully written, a delight to read.

I won a copy of this book as a competition prize quite a while ago-now I wish I read it much sooner! This is Fran Macilvey’s story. She has cerebral palsy; in her book she tells of all the hurdles she deals with on a daily basis, letting us know with complete honestly exactly how she feels. The pretending-trying to live as normal a life as possible and just finding a different way of doing things. This was amazing and really interesting right fro
Becky Corwin-Adams
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This memoir really touched me. Anyone who reads the book should give thanks if they are able to walk without difficulty and do everyday tasks that most of us take for granted. This book was a real eye opener and a great reminder to "not sweat the small stuff".

The author is a very courageous person, first of all for writing this book and telling all of the intimate details of her life and struggles with cerebral palsy. Second, I was amazed at her courage and determination to find a way to do any
Jill Stoking
May 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It wasn’t an easy decision for me to read this book, we all have past history that we’re afraid a certain book will stick pins into simply to see if we still feel the pain. I’m so glad I took the chance.

Fran has cerebral palsy as a result of being starved of oxygen at birth. Did I feel sorry for her? Yes, in that Fran has a constant battle to overcome people’s perception of what she is and isn’t capable of. There always seems to be the presumption by others that her body, which maybe lacking in
May 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written and at times revelationary in phrases that perfectly sum up the author's feelings and let you see things as she sees them and also in the different perspective that it gives of everyday life from her point of view. The author definitely made the right choice when she gave up her legal career and turned to writing instead !

Understand that her next book is about finding happiness but I think she answers that here - find your vocation and your soul mate and you can cope with any
Cherry Gregory
May 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is elegant writing that truly inspires. Fran Macilvey has a wonderful way with words. From her descriptions of her childhood, I was able to sense, see and smell her African home, the animals and the ocean in an almost magical way. An achievement in itself, but she also enabled me to feel her life with cerebral palsy.
I do not suffer from cerebral palsy, but Fran suggests that we all have disabilities of some sort, and I'm sure she's right. I could relate to so much of her life that I underst
Oct 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Writing a first hand narrative about disability - here cerebral palsy- requires, like the living of such a life, a degree of toughness. Nobody wants to be pitied. The author is commendably tough, open and honest, not least about the powerful emotions - guilt and anger- that fuel so much of her childhood and growing up.But she also covers the family tensions and dysfunctions, some around her; the miseries of school (she admits she was sometimes the bully, not always bullied) and working life; sex ...more
Dawn Downey
May 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir

I chose this book because my brother has cerebral palsy. I wanted to learn more about his experience, even though he’s in his forties now and we’ve had a long time to get to know each other.

The author grabbed my attention with an incredibly gripping account of her mom in the delivery room, giving birth. She held my attention with her willingness to share her embarrassments, rages, failures. She shed light on how childhood emotions affect an adult life. Really insightful.

She became aware she “…

Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
What a truly inspirational book. Fran MacIlvey writes about her life with a searing honesty which is sometimes breathtaking. I found myself reading parts over again and feeling humbled. Her childhood in Africa is beautifully described. She evokes sympathy in the reader as she describes her struggles with cerebral palsy. However she is very candid about how awkward she could be at times, frequently rejecting offers of help. Life at boarding school in Edinburgh was difficult to say the least and h ...more
Janet Givens
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir

Trapped -- in her body from cerebral palsy -- but also trapped in a co-dependent delusion that if only she worked hard enough, if only she didn't cause a fuss, if only she lived the life expected of her, she would be happy. Fran Macilvey's autobiography is the story of how she emerged from that trap, freed herself to a life of joy, a life where she "has the right to get it wrong, the same as everyone else." She still has cerebral palsy, she still walks with an uneven gait and falls far too often
May 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book, full price on the recommendation of a friend. I have never paid £8 for a kindle book and was rather hoping that Trapped would live up to it's expensive price tag, I'm pleased to say that it did and worth every last penny.
Trapped is not a book that you race through, it's not a rollicking good read and it's not a roller coaster ride either.
Fran is neither trapped by her disabilities or people's prejudices for and against her. Instead she is trapped within herself, by herself, a
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
I found her story interesting at first, and she is a quality writer. The memoir has some beautiful description. Unfortunately she is also bitter and whiny. She makes her point about how tough it was growing up with her disability. Then she makes it again. And again. And then gives another example in the next chapter. I did not finish-- I got the point. The story needed more to hold my interest. Interestingly, she even admits in the book that she hasn't bothered to flesh out any characters and do ...more
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most beautiful biographies I've read. It is filled with humor while dealing with the painful daily routines of living with CP. Fran is strong, courageous and open to the world. Her abilities, empathy and achievements are exceptional. There is a lot of pain and many challenges but everyone could read this book and be both uplifted and touched at heart. She brings us some of the best of humanity in one story. Thank you, Fran. ...more
Julia Smith
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, I found some of if difficult to read, as a person who also has cerebral palsy, I have never wished I didn't have my disability, so I did find Fran's anger difficult to relate to, but I did fully understand her frustration and longing to 'fit in'. Great read! This book taught me that everyone who is born with a disability deals with it differently and I shouldn't judge those who are not quite as settled with their impairments as I am with mine ...more
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was well written without being too much of a downer. I have CP myself, so it's interesting to read another person's view on the affliction. It seems difficult to find books on the subject written by those living with CP. It's a lonely world at times, dealing with this handicap. Nice to read a book that is optimistic as well as true to the issue at hand. ...more
Carolyn D'Argenio
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Vivid personal account. Two things stood out: 1). The importance of recognizing the disabled as whole people, who should be considered when figuring out "what's best" and 2). The importance of self-love. ...more
Mar 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book really made me realize that things will be ok! I have seen a lot of myself in what Fran went through!
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fran writes about disability beautifully and elegantly, which is very hard to do. Her strength and courage shine through her words, as she transports you into the story.
Lance Pounds
Jul 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Although Macilvey had an amazing life, the book just offered no real purpose.
Jan 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
I couldn't finish this read because it was to slow and I couldn't get into the story. Only had 3 hours left and didn't desire to finish. ...more
Janet Eshenroder
Jun 05, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was a memoir of a strong-willed woman in a body that limited other people's expectations. Her parents were determined to make her life as normal as possible, expecting her to keep up with her siblings, subjecting her to surgeries and treatments that gave her some independence while crippling her spirit. Both parents were unusually supportive for the time period and the author acknowledges their love and concern, while also rebelling against their restrictions.

"'Assistance' in the form
I love autobiographies but I rarely read them. I think that may because for years I could not seem to find one that was well written and one that really drew me in. This book managed to do both and do them well.

Fran Macilively welcomes you into her world in a very blunt and open way. She started out life in a rather dramatic fashion and was welcomed into a world of privilege. Her account of her early life in the Belgian Congo is spellbinding. The way she describes sitting in the sun petting her
May 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoy reading a good biography or memoir and I was particularly interested in this book after seeing all of the glowing reviews. I was a little surprised when the book actually exceeded my expectations! This is one of those books that really draws you into the story and allows you to see the real person, for better or worse. I admit I knew very little about Cerebral Palsy before I read this book, which is one of the reasons I picked it up. I feel like I now have at least a greater appre ...more
May 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It feels like the author 'gets it' which of course she does. I have yet to reach her level of acceptance but I feel closer to achieving it.

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I was born in Congo in 1965. Returning to Scotland in 1972, I spent eight years at boarding school, before qualifying in law and practising as a solicitor for ten years. 'Trapped: My Life with Cerebral Palsy' (Skyhorse, New York) is my true story. Two follow-up books, 'Happinesss Matters' and 'Making Miracles' (self-help) share some of the lessons I learned from forty years of making mistakes.

I a

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