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Double Take: A Memoir

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  589 Ratings  ·  120 Reviews
“Kevin Connolly has used an unusual physical circumstance to create a gripping work of art. This deeply affecting memoir will place him in the company of Jeanette Walls and Augusten Burroughs.” — Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants

“Charming … Connolly recounts growing up a scrappy Montana kid—one who happened to be born without legs... [Double Take] makes for an empo
ebook, 240 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperStudio (first published September 30th 2009)
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Oct 19, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
There’s more to Connolly’s story than the fact that he was born without legs, which makes this memoir an interesting read, but as the author is only in his early 20s, it’s a quick read, too.
We see him raised by parents who treat his disability as matter-of-factly as they can, and he has a fairly normal small-town childhood. He eschews wheelchairs and prosthetics for a skateboard he propels with his hands — it’s just easier for him to get around that way. In trying to find a sport that he can com
Even though I felt that a large portion of this small book was disjointed somehow, I still liked it. A lot of what I read in Mr. Connolly's story reinforced the idea that people can "go for broke" and create a positive out of a bad situation.

The biggest lesson that I learned from Connolly's story, though, is that he's a much better person than I am. Even just reading about stranger's initial reactions to him had me clicking my tongue and shaking my head, while I was secretly acknowledging the fa
I picked up this book after learning that the University of Florida is using it as a common read for this year's incoming freshmen. I think it's an excellent choice for multiple reasons including the fact that it's a thought-provoking and inspirational story about a young guy dealing with unusual challenges in very unusual ways. And the students will probably like that it's a quick read.

Kevin Connolly was born without legs to a family that expected him to be independent. He rejected prostheses a
Mar 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
Great story of overcoming one's self and their world. I will say that Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants) has obviously never read Augusten Burroughs' books since she used that as a comparison in her review. The only thing that they have in common is both being memoirs.
Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memior
This author reminds us how obstacles can be overcome. He gives a glimpse into the life of someone with physical challenges.
Feb 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non
The cover drew me in during a bookstore excursion, and when I flipped through I was delighted to see a lot of photography interspersed.

Kevin (because we're close like that) was born without legs. It's not a disease or the result of anything his mother did or didn't do - it just happened. But his book isn't about that. Well, ok, to an extent it is, because you can't just gloss over something like that. But I guess because he was born that way, he didn't have much adjusting to do. It was simply h
This book was a fairly quick read. The chapters are concise and reader friendly. The photographs from the author’s photo project definitely set the tone for the book, and are a creative thread holding the narrative together.

I read this book to add to my repertoire of disability memoirs, though at a point in the book Connolly points out that he does not identify himself as disabled, which was an insightful commentary in his range of experiences. I had a few issues with some of the way the narrat
Ellen Gemmill
I was somewhat disappointed in this book. Connolly is a decent enough writer (the recounting of his skiing adventures were especially entertaining - if somewhat painful!) but I found myself a little put off by his attitude. A common theme (and the impetus for the book in the first place) was his annoyance at how people would look at him and the different reactions they would have. I don't mean to be cold, but let's face it - a legless man zipping around on a skateboard should expect to see shock ...more
Feb 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was strangely fascinating. The author was born without legs in a small town in Montana to parents who really encouraged him to be independent. Over the years, he tried both artificial legs and a wheelchair, but found both methods of transport confining, and ultimately crafted himself a little skateboard that he whizzed around on very expeditiously. Since he never had legs, he didn't really feel badly about his condition, and there was very little he couldn't do, including skiing in the X ga ...more
Dec 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A memoir by a 23-year old would not normally sound promising, but this one is highly engaging. Author was born without legs and describes how that affected dating, finding an outlet for his interest in competitive sports (frustrating to have to just watch h.s. football; didn't take to wrestling; found his niche in skiing so well that he earned lots of money via the X games, has sponsors, etc.), being mobile enough to keep up with girlfriend and family in getting around (rides a "longboard" on hi ...more
Jun 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't remember where I heard this book mentioned, but it looked interesting. Kevin Connolly is a 23 year old from Montana who happened to be born without legs. The book is a combination of two basic story ideas: living as normal of a life as possible, and the chronicles of a journey around the world to photograph people's reactions to him.

I liked the way the book was put together. Each chapter had a photo at the beginning that came from his collection, then the chapter was like a written snaps
Dec 06, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I liked this book and I'm glad I read it. However, somehow I was expecting more. I appreciated his stories of growing up and overcoming the many difficulties of not having legs. I appreciated his drive to excel and his honesty, even about how he felt about his big photo project. I'm not sure what his main message was regarding these photos though. It seemed that he wanted to show that universally people will stare at someone without legs. But is that really a big surprise? He even found himself ...more
Aug 23, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

His continuously negative outlook on other people and their intentions makes reading this book exhausting. Every chapter or so I felt like I, as a person who might happen to look at or glance at someone who is missing two legs who is riding on a skateboard down a street, am a bad person who can feel only one emotion: pity. I don't buy that.

As far as the rest of the book goes, I think it would have been a very strong choice to include a ghost writer. The writing fluctuates between repeating the o
Matt Miltenberg
Feb 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really a great memoir. Picked this up while watching X-games hoping for a book to meet my insatiable skiing needs...but found much, much more. The book most closely chronicles Connolly's mission to create a photo project capturing the stares he's been given all his life for being born without legs. Along the way, the insights we get into his experiences, both the sameness and the differences, are very open, reflective, poignant and emotional- without being self-indulgent. Connolly didn't set out ...more
Dec 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was fortunate enough to see the author, Kevin Michael Connolly, at the National Inclusion Project Champions for Change Gala in December 2011. At the time, he charmed me with his wit and humor. Therefore, I HAD to read his memoir, and it did not disappoint! Mr. Connolly was born without legs, and yet, had as normal of a childhood as he could. His parents had much to do with this; they had a very no-nonsense way about them, as people who live in Montana are wont to do. The book discusses this ch ...more
It's good to be able to see the world from a different perspective (literally in this case), through someone else's experiences. I wonder sometimes what it's like to be physically different from the average person on the street, but in the end everyone's got such a drastically different life no matter how they're born that I end up interested in everyone's story, because everyone's got something interesting happening or that has happened in their lives to tell about. Even if Kevin had been born ...more
Oct 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fast read and an inspirational one! I found his comments about perception really interesting. And my favorite quotable was the last 2 pages, this in particular:

"And I have come to understand why people make up stories and ask questions about what happened to my legs. I'm guilty of doing the same thing to others who interest me. It's a natural human imperative to create stories: things can't just be. If someone gets lung cancer, we want to know whether he smoked. If someone has a hear
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed Connolly's memoir immensely. Connolly definitely kept my attention and managed to detail his birth deformity and the ensuing heartaches and triumphs in a very positive and informative way.

Connolly traveled around the world alone despite the fact that he has no legs. His mode of transport is a skateboard, and a mission along the way was to capture as many people's reaction to the sight of him as possible on camera. He captured hundreds of photos of people's expressions when they are fi
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My friend Alyse suggested this book to me. It was an enjoyable memoir and very quick.

I remember seeing this guy on TV a few years ago. His Rolling Exhibition was probably touring at the time and I think CBS Sunday Morning did a story on him. I remember watching it and seeing some of his photos. The stares from the people and how he went about snapping those photos were unlike anything I had seen before and it stuck with me. I didn't know his name until I got a hold of this book. I was then able
Jun 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick read. The author, born without legs, details his (short) life experience of 22 years. How his parents handled it, family, peers, and strangers. It's woven together somewhat disjointedly, but in a way that somehow makes sense.

I really enjoyed getting inside his head to know his perspective on how he would like to be seen. I have considered this before and it was enlightening, although I'm sure not everyone in a similar position has his same perspective.

It's really about his desire to be
Jun 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so uplifting and nice to read. After reading about all those Hoaxers in the non-fiction genre, it was nice to read something that I KNOW was true. I mean, it's hard to fake the fact that you have no legs.

The author seems to know that writing a memoir in his young 20's is a little presuming and self-centered. But he does a great job of laying out his life, his trials growing up and his view and theory on the world so far. He doesn't make any big claims on life and how people should
Brenda Ann
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kevin Michael Connolly was born without legs. He got around by dragging his butt on the ground while walking with his hands. His parents brought him up like his sisters, believing he can do anything.

For the quote "I began bringing my wheelchair to school in fourth grade. We had just started switching rooms for different classes and the chair kept me off the ground when other students flooded the hallways. But for all the wheelchair's practicality, it brought about the first realization that I wa
Oct 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a memoir about Kevin Connolly, a young MSU grad, Helena, MT native, and X-Games mono-ski competitor. Kevin was born with no legs and shares his unique perspective on life and people's impressions of him in this book. Included are photo's from The Rolling Exhibition. At first glance, one would assume that Kevin's life is much different than theirs. However, I enjoyed this book because I came to realize that in many ways Kevin's life and hobbies aren't really that much different than ...more
I picked up this book because it was compared to Jeannette Walls and Augusten Burroughs, whose memoirs are among my favorite books of all time. However, I definitely do NOT think the comparison is warranted. This is a memoir about someone who's only in his late twenties, by my estimate, and while the concept is interesting, what's in the actual book is not. It was entertaining, and a few parts kept my attention, but the bulk of the book seemed uninteresting if only because there was really no co ...more
Apr 29, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading Double Take. It was an easy-read. It's a memoir of a 23 year old man who was born without legs. Each chapter tells stories of different times of his life starting with his birth to current time. In these chapters, he shares his experiences of being a legless guy. He expresses his inner thoughts and feelings when people stare at him. He takes on a journey to see the world by traveling to several countries and in the midst of it he decides to take photos of people as a way of cop ...more
Melissa Norton
Jun 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had somewhat higher expectations for this slim volume, but even so, it is well worth reading. Kevin Connolly was born without legs in 1985 Montana, and is now a photographer and competitive skier (winning medals in mono skier cross at the Winter X Games). He travels by hand and skateboard, and a lifetime of being stared at inspired his photography -- he unobtrusively snaps pictures of people in the act of staring. "The Rolling Exhibition" is a collection of those images taken on his travels ar ...more
Lisa Kranz
I obtained this book by mistake in my library purchases. I was trying to put together a small collection of books for kids with a skateboarding interest...picked a couple of famous skaters memoirs, some fictional stories with a skateboarding theme and some nonfiction related to skateboarding technique etc. This book is a memoir about a young guy, born without legs, wgi gets around by using a skateboard. He studied photography in college and went on a world trip, all the while snapping photos on ...more
Mar 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is such a fast read and provides an interesting perspective about a pretty remarkable young man who was born with no legs and rides around the world on a skateboard. His observation is that no matter where in the world you are, everyone stares the same or reacts the same when they first see him. He chronicles his journey and shows some great maturity as he deals with the emotional effects of people's reactions to him. It was not a book that necessarily changed my life, but it helped me ...more
Chelsey Small
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a great read to me. It opened up to me and made me realize that most of the time I take for granted things like having legs. I realized that not everyone has what I have and that I shouldn't take it for granted because one day it all could be gone. I found Kevin very inspiring, and appreciate how he told his story. However, I do wish he told more about how it was growing up as a child, and then a teenager, without legs, and showed how he was treated there. But, I do like how he wro ...more
Sarah Cauble
I really wanted to read this book because it's a memoir of a 23-year old guy from Helena, Montana, who travels the world and has no legs! Two things I'm interested in and something I've never read about. I loved Kevin's writing style and he's great at describing the places and people he sees - and now I really want to visit Ukraine and New Zealand. It was also fascinating to learn what it's like to grow up and live like a bipedal person, but on a skateboard (not a wheel chair!). In some ways, I ...more
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