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Limping through Life: A Farm Boy’s Polio Memoir Hardcover – April 24, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Wisconsin Historical Society Press; 1 edition (April 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870205803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870205804
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In 1947, when he was just 12 years old, the world as Apps knew it was turned upside down. A rural Wisconsin farm boy, Apps was all too familiar with the aches and twinges that came from a hard day helping his family tend livestock and crops. The searing pain that gripped his right leg one November night was unlike anything he’d felt before, however, and something that would not be eased by a few unheard of days of rest or his mother’s traditional home cures. Diagnosed with polio and saddled with a crippling limp that could limit his productive life and ability to contribute to his family’s welfare, Apps learned to cope and compensate. Frankly describing the emotional and physical challenges that were the disease’s legacy, Apps reflectively positions his subsequent academic, military, professional, and personal accomplishments within the framework of a more innocent time and place. A respected historian, environmentalist, and author (Tamarack River Ghost, 2012), Apps’ meticulous attention to detail and deep appreciation for those who helped him persevere enliven this poignant memoir. --Carol Haggas

Review

In 1947, when he was just 12 years old, the world as Apps knew it was turned upside down. A rural Wisconsin farm boy, Apps was all too familiar with the aches and twinges that came from a hard day helping his family tend livestock and crops. The searing pain that gripped his right leg one November night was unlike anything he’d felt before, however, and something that would not be eased by a few unheard of days of rest or his mother’s traditional home cures. Diagnosed with polio and saddled with a crippling limp that could limit his productive life and ability to contribute to his family’s welfare, Apps learned to cope and compensate. Frankly describing the emotional and physical challenges that were the disease’s legacy, Apps reflectively positions his subsequent academic, military, professional, and personal accomplishments within the framework of a more innocent time and place. A respected historian, environmentalist, and author (Tamarack River Ghost, 2012), Apps’ meticulous attention to detail and deep appreciation for those who helped him persevere enliven this poignant memoir.(Carol Haggas,Booklist)



Limping Through Life is well worth reading. It is an engaging Midwestern story of pain, striving, and hard work. Apps's descriptions of his parents' reactions to his illness are priceless and heartbreaking.  His father's successful attempt to rehabilitate him through hard work and horse liniment captures both the strengths and weaknesses of farm families facing hardship. They made the best they could of what they had but unfortunately missed the damaged soul that needed tending.  This story of farm childhood, polio, and making a new life where a weak leg would not matter is bound to intrigue anyone with an interest in the Midwest, agriculture, or childhood, and makes an excellent addition to the list of recently published memoirs detailing farm life at the middle of the twentieth century. (Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, The Annals of Iowa)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Once I started to read this book I could not put it down until finished.
David Jones
Jerry Apps has a relaxed, readable writing style and kept my interest throughout the book.
Steven C. Samer
And, if you love this book, Google and buy the "A Farm Story" DVD.
Gomershad

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steven C. Samer on May 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jerry Apps has a relaxed, readable writing style and kept my interest throughout the book. Having grown up in WI and knowing the Waushara County area made this book especially interesting to me. I passed it along to my 94 year old Mother who's lived in WI all her life and she liked it a lot, too. I remember the polio scare well, I was a child then, too and the fact that they weren't sure what caused it, so places like public swimming pools and county fairs were closed. Apps had limitations due to polio, but certainly did well in his life by cultivating his strengths in writing and science. I think this would be a good book for anyone who wants to know about rural and small town life and also learn about how the polio epidemic affected people, especially children, in that era.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ann Emmerich on September 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Loved this book, as did my parents who actually grew up in Wild Rose at the time... and my uncle is in some of the photos.

But, most importantly, I have a patient (I am a physical therapist) who had polio at the same time as Jerry did. Same illness, perhaps a bit worse. I had loaned the book to him to read. He is now in the post-polio syndrome of this terrible disease, as is Jerry. He completely related to the initial illness and the subsequent syndrome. He both loved the book and had a terrible time reading it.

Thank you, Jerry, for sharing and putting into words everything that he experienced. And making it understandable for those who were impacted by it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer R. on May 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I live in Wisconsin so I thought I would give this book a try. It was enjoyable in a matter-of-fact sort of way. The life style his family lived is light years from how we live today so taking a step back into a less complex time was refreshing. It also made me realize how hard they worked. There was little pity for a young boy with polio. The people around him are rather stoic. His whole life changed due to his polio and in the end probably developed him into the hard working talented man he became. The thing that stood out for me was when he went to college his mother didn't hug or kiss him or cry. She just dropped him off! I can't imagine! It was a different time and they were brought up to not show much emotion. That is why it is sort of matter-of-fact.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Jones on September 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is especially meaning full for me for several reasons. I was in Jerry's high school class and benefited from much help he offered classmates with school work. I also had polio while in high school but was one of the fortunate ones and experienced no long lasting effects. Jerry's ability and humor quickly overshadowed his limp to the extent that it is not something his classmates recognized or remembered. This book is amazing with his ability to recall so many important details. Having also grown up on a dairy farm, I also experienced many of the chores and long hours required of young boys of that time. This is important because it brings out the values of the times so important to the growth of this Country. Jerry is a great Author. Once I started to read this book I could not put it down until finished.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gomershad on September 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you saw the PBS special "A Farm Story", featuring narrative by and the interview of author Jerry Apps, you'll love this book (I think PBS stations are going to repeat the airing this-coming December). A heart-warming first-hand account of Depression-era and post-Depression life in what we would consider "primitive" country-living in Wisconsin. And, if you love this book, Google and buy the "A Farm Story" DVD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Vince Johnson on August 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Younger people don't realize how much polio affected the lives of so many young people around 1950. The author was fortunate that his type of polio did not leave hime totally paralyzed like it did to a classmate of my older sister.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Georgia L. Stone on May 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This story just shows that there is something more for you in life when you are given a challenge to overcome..A a new path awaits to bring you to a calling you never expected. Mr. Apps certainly found his as is apparent in his writings.
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By JKay on May 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
My parents are in the same age range as Jerry Apps, so I find his books usually hit close to home. When I read them, I feel like I could be reading the story of my own mom or dad. Neither of my parents had polio, but they knew of people that did and could tell stories from that era of what it was like to live knowing this disease was out there and nobody knew what to do about it.

The emotion (or lack of) shown by people towards him is exactly how my parents were raised and how they raised me and my siblings. We weren't babied, coddled or handed a bunch of sappy, namby-pamby, anecdotes about life. You learned about life and death early on a farm, you learned about hard work and earning a living. A previous reviewer mentioned how his mom dropped him off at college without so much as a hug. My parents didn't even take me to college, my brother did and no, he didn't hug me either. He said, "have fun, see ya!"

I really liked this book. I thought he did a good job telling his story. You can tell, by how much he mentions that other people don't mention his polio, that he must still harbor ill feelings towards this disease that changed the course of his life. It's probably true with many things in life, we are our own worst critic. Others just see what they see, but we see all the could have/should have/would haves in life. Sometimes you just have to deal the hand your dealt, stop caring or looking at what you don't have and start living the life you do have.
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More About the Author

Jerry Apps writes novels and nonfiction about the outdoors, country life, and rural living for adults and children. He received the 2008 First Place Nature Writing Award from the Midwest Independent Publishers Association and the 2007 Major Achievement Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers, and was elected a Fellow in Wisconsin Academy of Sciences Arts and Letters in 2012.

For further information, visit Jerry's website, www.jerryapps.com

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