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Life, Interrupted: The True Story of a Life Driven by Tourette's [Paperback]

James Mcconnel
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 April 2007

James McConnel always felt like a 'nearly' person. Alienated and bullied at school, playing music was the only time James felt in control. But as his piano playing skills developed, so did a bewildering array of strange compulsions. Initially the jerking, coughing, grunting, repeating, tapping, sniffing and counting, was dismissed as a 'funny little habit'. But it was clearly much more than that.

Growing up, he had dreams of becoming a concert pianist, and he secured a place at the Royal College of Music. But the bittersweet discovery that drinking temporarily stopped his twitches saw him slip into alcoholism. Aged thirty-two, James was finally diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome and, at long last, he began to understand himself. He still has tics and obsessive routines but his attitude to these has altered dramatically. He is happy.

Touching, humorous and intimate, LIFE, INTERRUPTED is the astonishing story of one man's journey to self-acceptance.

Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review (5 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755315049
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755315048
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 718,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'The onset of his Tourette's syndrome is described with an unflinching, humorous honesty' (Sunday Telegraph)

Touching, humorous and intimate, Life, Interrupted is the astonishing story of one man's journey to self-acceptance (In Dublin)

James McConnel... a very funny, honest and brave writer who has written a singularly brilliant book (Robert Gwyn Palmer, Grove magazine)

'Amusing and touching' (The Herald)

Book Description

A memoir of obsession, compulsion, loneliness, alcoholism, music, the quest for identity, the search for love, some very fine jokes and late-diagnosed Tourette's

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the best insight into Tourettes....... 22 Jun 2006
By Roger Sharp VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Although this book has a focus around Tourettes Syndrome (TS), it also makes clear how often the TS sufferer has to contend with a "Double Whammy" - i.e. TS and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). And worse still, maybe even the triple - TS, OCD and ADHD/ADD.

In the most lucid and coherent way, it explains how the external manifestations of Tourettes - the vocal and body tics -on which the condition is diagnosed, are in reality dwarfed by the utter confusion of the internal dialogue that the body creates and has to deal with.

McConnel has written a book that is not only easy read, and sometimes very funny, but gets to the very core of the difficulty of having to come to terms with a condition that takes control of your body, leaving you to have to deal with and explain your unintended actions.

Whilst it is uplifting that despite everything, McConnel comes through in the end - perhaps helped by his great musical talent - it is sobering to consider those people with equally severe TS who have no special talent or gift...........

Finally, this book should be required reading for any medical professional who encounters TS. Even the foremost experts in the field probably fail to understand the extent to which this condition can rule your life. This book is as close as you can get to living it............
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly fascinating book 19 May 2006
I bought this book having heard the author on a radio interview. Life Interrupted is the wonderfully funny, yet often extremely touching story of McConnel's experiences growing up with undiagnosed Tourette's Syndrome. You almost feel you're reading a novel most of the time and his characterisation of his 'twitches' - the 'Controller' and later, the 'Beast' give the reader enormous insight into this most unusual of conditions. I don't want to give anything away, but when McConnel is finally diagnosed, the way he deals with it is a suprise. A great read.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LIFE'S A TWITCH 16 May 2006
James McConnel's 'Life, Interrupted' is a compelling, poignant and often hilarious account of what it feels like to grow up with something wrong with you, when no one, least of all yourself, knows or understands what this strange problem might be.

James might have come from a loving and supportive family, he might have been sent to the best schools, and been wonderfully talented from an early age at playing the piano and entertaining others, but none of this helped.

The reason? James has Tourette's Syndrome, which remained undiagnosed until he was in his early thirties.

As a result, from the age of six, James felt he was not in control of his life. He felt different, 'other' from those around him. What began as an irrepressible urge to sniff, which he first experienced at a carol service at his pre prep school, soon transformed into a repertoire of involuntary twitches, jerks and grunts. He felt as if there was a 'controller,' and later a 'beast' that had taken charge of his life.

Worse even than the outward signs of Tourette's is the inner turmoil the condition brings with it. The book is gripping, laugh out loud funny, and desperately sad as James describes with un unflinching honesty and self deprecatory humour what it is really like to be in the grip of obsessive compulsive disorder, to suffer from attention deficit disorder and to have a peculiar fixation with repetitive patterns in numbers and words.

Only alcohol stayed the obsessions and the fixations and helped James survive, and it was only when he stopped drinking that his life began again.

This is a marvellous book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have 25 April 2010
This book shows real insight into what life is like for the Tourette's sufferer.
My nine year old daughter was diagnosed with Tourette's at the age of five along with OCD, ODD, ASD.
This book has really helped me to understand what life is like from her point of view in a way that no other book has. I intend to recommend this book to everyone I can, especially so-called experts who quite blatently haven't got a clue.
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