Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Just Don't Fall: A Hilariously True Story of Childhood, Cancer, Amputation, Romantic Yearning, Truth, and Olympic Greatness Paperback – December 28, 2010
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of 2018 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"What a voice! I loved this book, every page."
-Kelly Corrigan, New York Times best-selling author of The Middle Place
"Inspiring. Courageous. Sometimes heartbreaking. The tough lesson that less than a hundred percent is still all right."
-John le CarrT
"I didn't want to put this book down. It was more than the amazing story-it was the honesty of a voice that spoke, without a whiff of melodrama, about loss and worry and determination."
-Elizabeth Strout, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Olive Kitteridge
"Just Don't Fall is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read-not to mention poignant and funny. If I ever find myself wallowing in self-pity, I plan to reach for Josh Sundquist's book."
-A.J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Know-It-All and The Year of Living Biblically
"Josh Sundquist has not only written an inspirational memoir about elegantly and deftly triumphing over adversity, but he has also written a fascinating and hilarious one...incredible energy...moving and deeply affecting."
-Isabel Gillies, author of the New York Times bestselling Happens Every Day
"A remarkable account of a young man's triumph over adversity. It shows that disability need not be a barrier to great achievement. This book is brimming with hope and humor, joy and courage, but most of all love."
-Daniel Tammet, New York Times bestselling author of Born on a Blue Day
"His story made me laugh out loud and cry at the most unexpected moments. He is funny, poignant, irreverent, and full of life."
-Donna VanLiere, New York Times bestselling author of Finding Grace
"I finished this book with a profound sense of awe ... a phenomenally gifted writer. Bravo for this original voice-the memoir shelves shifted for Frank McCourt, and they will shift once again for Josh Sundquist."
-Elizabeth Hyde, author of In the Heart of the Canyon and The Abortionist's Daughter
"An absolutely beautiful story of strength, integrity, and passion for life. His wry humor and rich evocation of the people in his life make this an entirely engrossing read, and his storytelling gifts are clear. I look forward to reading whatever this talented young writer comes up with next."
-Marya Hornbacher, author of Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
About the Author
JOSH SUNDQUIST was a member of the 2006 US Paralympics Ski Team in Turin, Italy. A graduate of the College of William & Mary and the University of Southern California, he is the founder of LessThanFour.org, the world’s largest online community for amputees and is a nationally known motivational speaker. He is 25 years old and lives in the Washington, DC area.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The story itself is good enough, but Sundquist's writing style leaves a lot to be desired.
Personally having a great deal of formal and informal education in writing, I can't help but think that Sundquist's editors did him a disservice by allowing him such excessive creative freedom. The book, while chronological for the most part, is not divided into understandable sections and instead uses new chapters to signify the passage of time. This results in the narrator repeating time markers throughout the first few pages of every single chapter. This is irksome and distracting.
Sundquist narrates the book by channeling the age he was during the events of that section. By this I mean, when he is nine and learns he has cancer he is explaining the situation as though he is still nine. However, adults have a horrible time speaking the way we think we did as children, so for the majority of the time that Sundquist uses this technique it feels as though he is speaking down to his audience.
In conjunction with feeling spoken down to, he also describes, at length, everyday objects or situations. It is clear that he is trying to convey his innocence and the sheltered life that he lead as a child, however it's not well executed. There is no need to droll on for a page and a half about how he did not understand what a wine glass was and go into vague detail describing the glass' shape and structure. A simple, "and Dad had to explain that these things were wine glasses..." would have been more good enough. I feel that the story was twice as long as it is, purely for unnecessary detail and description.
Writing style aside, the last third of the book is disappointingly sparse. We spend the majority of the book learning Josh's struggle with cancer and personal acceptance, cheering him on through the pages only to get to the exciting climax of the book and... skip the climax.
We are preparing to see Josh's struggle to make the US Paralympics Ski Team, we see him cross the finish line as an unlikely victor, and then... we skip ahead past the other, more crucial races to help him qualify. Then after the opening ceremony to the Paralympics, we are rushed through every event. If the first two thirds of the book was filled with unwanted detail, the last third was missing desperately desired information. I wanted to see Josh succeed and discover himself through his skiing, but was left finishing the last page feeling sorry for a kid who seemed to be more lost and confused than ever before.
In the end I feel like this is a story of a boy who gets cancer, loses a leg, and replaces his limb with hubris. Though poorly written and challenging to read because of it, there are still beautiful moments in the book though they are few and far between. My advice: follow Josh on YouTube and pass on the book. He's a better speaker than a writer.
Sundquist narrates his life story (from early childhood to just after his experience with the Paralympics in Italy) with characteristic humor and optimism, and plenty of subtle surprises. For example, as the Josh in the story ages, Josh the author uses a more mature voice. The author always remains in the background, though, selecting just the right details for the reader to see the hilarious big picture. For example, when Josh of about ten years old is in the hospital after his amputation, a resident makes an embarrassing mistake and covers by claiming to be late for a meeting he just remembered. The reader has no doubt that the doctor is lying, and Josh the author gives enough information for us to be very clear on that point, but the young Josh in the story shares how there's a positive side to everything, and maybe even a really embarrassing moment can help you remember a meeting for which you were running late. It's a perfect blend of innocence and wisdom, and there is really no point in the book where Josh the author loses the perfect balance of that blend.
What I love the most about this inspirational book is that, despite the protagonist's aspirations as a motivational speaker, the book never really stoops to blatant attempts to inspire. Yes, Josh survives a serious battle with cancer, and he shares his story and heart with open hands, letting the reader choose what to take from the telling. Yes, Josh has some amazing romantic disasters, but he doesn't preach about relationship values - the reader just gets to share space with him as he struggles. Yes, Josh experiences impossible challenges as an amputee, but Josh the author has a remarkable sense for when his status as an amputee is relevant to a story and when he just needs to focus on how his unique personality brought about a certain turn of events. Yes, Josh the author seems to recognize the absurdity of many of the rules in his loving and strict homeschooling family, but he neither criticizes his parents nor admonishes the reader to accept or reject a certain kind of faith, even saving his own personal statement of faith for a gentle moment near the end of the book. This book really is an author telling his story in a powerful way to connect with readers, and I can recommend it (and Sundquist's YouTube channel) for anyone looking to be inspired with hope for humanity.