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Comment: Used - Good: All pages and cover are intact. The dust jacket, if applicable, may be slightly to moderately worn. Spine may show signs of wear, but is straight and tight. Pages may include limited (10% or less) notes/highlighting, which DON'T obstruct the main text in any way. May be an ex-library book in nice shape. Overall, it's a very nice and clean book. Ships fast! Please leave feedback after purchase to let others know about your experience with us. Thanks!
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Laughing at My Nightmare Hardcover – October 14, 2014

4.8 out of 5 stars 135 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up—Burcaw is like any other 21-year-old guy. He loves sports, video games, and bathroom humor; enjoys hanging out with his friends; and has had several girlfriends. The only thing that makes him different is that he has done all of this while in a wheelchair. Burcaw was born with a rare neuromuscular disease known as spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), which hinders his muscles' ability to grow and repair themselves. Instead of growing bigger and stronger with age, he becomes weaker and smaller. As a result of the disease, Burcaw depends on his friends and family when it comes to completing everyday tasks. Throughout, he shares many humorous and touching stories about growing up and living with his disease. These tales leave nothing to the imagination, including descriptions of how he uses the bathroom or has sexual interactions, and the author occasionally employs some graphic language. Burcaw's narrative will resonate with readers, who will laugh along with the funny stories, cringe at the awkward moments, and tear up at the emotionally charged parts. A poignant story that provides a fresh perspective on life.—Annalise Ammer, City of Rochester Public Libraries, NY

Review

“Burcaw has spent most of his life in a wheelchair with progressively debilitating spinal muscular atrophy, but instead of soberly presenting the ups and downs of a potentially bleak existence, he pens an uplifting, laugh-out-loud memoir that calls out the absurdity of his circumstances, and the joy he finds in the everyday.” ―Booklist

“*Laughing at My Nightmare is an unforgettable memoir.” ―VOYA, STARRED REVIEW

“With snark, swagger and self-deprecation, Burcaw explains from the beginning how SMA has shaped his mission . . . With reflections camouflaged in wisecracks, Burcaw demonstrates that a little humor goes a long way.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Burcaw's narrative will resonate with readers, who will laugh along with the funny stories, cringe at the awkward moments, and tear up at the emotionally charged parts. A poignant story that provides a fresh perspective on life.” ―School Library Journal

“*It's engaging, inspirational, and eye-opening.” ―Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (October 14, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 162672007X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1626720077
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Since I've been diagnosed with a terminal illness, I lost my sense of humor gradually... I became too self absorbed in my own issues and forgot/ignored how to approach/live my life properly. This read has rekindled my desire to live, laugh and love once again! Thank you S.B. for sharing yourself with us all!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have to confess I approached this book--and the blog of the same name--with some mild trepidation. I feared Burcaw was exploiting his disability, i.e., currying praise for being inspirational when all he's doing is, you know, surviving. I don't like referring to a disability as a disease, either. It's like playing the pity card, emphasizing medicalization and portraying yourself as a victim of said disease.

BUT … as Shane himself says, he's just a normal guy. He doesn't want to be pitied and he doesn't want to be special. In fact, he's sort of making fun of all that, turning "aw" & "ow" on its head (to "wa-wo," I guess).

BUT … Shane is definitely a talented writer. He's funny and expressive and moving. He has a distinctive "literary voice."

BUT… this is a good, quick, and gripping read. It's unfortunate that the publishing pros have relegated it to the "teen" market because it would be good for anyone of any age.

Full disclosure: I, too, grew up with spinal muscular atrophy, just like Shane. I identify with many of the experiences he describes here. Some of it cuts so close to the bone that it makes me shiver. That's not funny, I want to scream, when for example he describes being herded to the wheelchair section at a talk Michelle Obama gave at his school, separated from his friends. That's tragic!

Yet isn't it also illegal to ghettoize wheelchair folks, to deprive them of at least one "companion" seat? I do wish Shane had a stronger sense of disability rights, of his place in a broad community with a proud and deep history. Not to make the book all serious-like and angry and boring. Just so he'd have some righteous anger.
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Format: Hardcover
When I first saw this book, I was hoping that it would be like Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. It was not, it is a book about laughing at life, while having a disability. It was not a book about what it is like to have a disability. This is a very important distinction. Do you live defined by what you cannot do? Or do you live with humor and friends in your life, accepting that there are some things that you will not be able to do. This is what Shane Burcaw does with his life. Throughout the book you can see his perspectives on life change and grow as he matures. The writing is casual and it is as if he is just sitting there telling you about his life, not like you are reading it. Shane’s life has been anything but normal and in this book he tells us some of his experiences (good and bad) of what it is like to live with a disability. This book brought up some interesting points that I had never thought about for what it is like to live with a disability, but it was also about living life to the fullest. This book is definitely for ages high school and up, considering it covers the time span of a boy going through puberty. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a fast, philosophical book about living life to the fullest.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book for Amazon Kindle and couldn't put it down. I laughed, I cried and have promoted it to everyone I know. My 16-year-old daughter has read it and is now crushing hard on Shane, "He's hot!" she says. Shane is funny and bravely honest about everything we humans endure, but of course, he is enduring it all in a uniquely terrifying way. The fact that he can laugh at his situation (most of the time) is definitely inspiring. My 16-year-old (in photo) also happens to have the same disease as Shane although a milder form. His experiences mirror hers in such a remarkable way that helped her to feel less isolated...she's a rebel too. Finally, as a mother of a child with SMA, I was able to gain an insight through Shane's book to my daughter's innermost fears and thoughts.
Can't wait for the next book Shane!
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Format: Hardcover
Get into Shane's mind to be entertained and learn - as he recounts brutally honest, compelling, hilarious, stories of his life. You'll laugh and cry with Shane, his family and friends. When you wrap it up you'll feel like you know him and lament there is no next chapter. I had the pleasure of meeting Shane at NEPA BlogCon, where he presented, and purchased an advance signed copy of his book. I read it the very next day and hope there will be a Laughing at My Nightmare II.
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Format: Hardcover
This wonderful memoir hit all the right notes. It wasn't super sad because Shane Burcaw is wicked funny. It wasn't full of platitudes because Shane's 100% honest and holds nothing back. It was a warm, funny, honest book about a really cool guy, his family, friends and girlfriend. It was about his ambitions and limitations and the way he lives his life. When Shane revealed his deepest fears and greatest joys, I related to all of it. After reading this satisfying book, I felt like I would enjoy chatting with the author over a cup of coffee. Of course, his would have a long, bendy straw. Don't miss this excellent memoir, this glimpse into the daily life a hilarious, remarkable young man.
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