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No Hands To Hold and No Legs To Dance On - A Thalidomide Survivor's Story by [Medus, Louise, Swain, Gill]
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No Hands To Hold and No Legs To Dance On - A Thalidomide Survivor's Story Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Length: 220 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Review

A magnificently frank and breezy book - often very funny. --Libby Purves, Midweek BBC Radio 4

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3125 KB
  • Print Length: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Accent Press (22 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008O5I6OA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #107,803 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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I read this book because I looked after a couple of thalidomide babes, way back when they were born during my midwifery training and was interested in the subject. Fortunately we had staff who were more forward thinking and allowed the parents to see their children and had the options explained to them. Both of these children went home and were loved, so I can understand the resentment that Louise felt, and this was obvious throughout the book, towards her parents and sibings. Unfortunately her temperament, nothing to do with her condition, as she says herself she is stubborn and like her father, made her rather unlikeable in many ways to me, the reader. I admire the way her father fought so that she lives a reasonably comfortable life, unlike children born disabled through no obvious cause. I would like to read her parent's side of the story as to why they did not allow her to come home and stayed away at her second wedding. I felt there was far more to this story than was told.
I found it very strange that Louise writes under the name of the man she divorced and obviously disliked at the time of writing. I also found it unusual that she seems to have had no female friends to speak of -she is entirely a man's woman. Disregarding her disabilities (I have disabled friends and am disabled myself) I did not feel any kind of connection with this author and doubt I would like her at all if I met her. I admire her for her ability to cope with most things thrown at her, but feel no warmth for her.
The book is quite well written as far as spelling and grammar are concerned but there are too many repititions, and I often wondered if I had got the wrong page on my Kindle as I was reading something word for word that I'd already read.
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I was almost bracing myself to read this as I knew a little about the story before i started it. It didnt disappoint in any way. How on earth Louise dealt with the life she was given I will never know. Surely you are going to ask "Why me? " but she managed to cope some how with her parents abandoning her to a home when she was a few weeks old. Her parents were in shock but even so the thought of actually looking after their daughter at home was never put to them ?? Its for the best... we know of a good home she can stay at. Even as she grew up holidays at home were not forthcoming and her parents let her manage on her own. It was not a case of tough love.. they just seemd unable to cope or even try.

My heart missed a beat when Louise said that one of her friends turned out to be Terry Wiles I believe his name was who wrote the book On Giants Shoulders many years ago and it was made into a very moving tv documentary in which he played the main part.. There are some thing that stop with you for a long time and that documentary and this book
are two of the them .
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i have very mixed feelings on this book, obviously, the subject matter makes it a very sensitive subject to read about in the first place and louise really does tell it just like it is, warts and all. i feel so for her, first and foremost any disability is hard but to be completely abandoned by your parents must be even harder. i felt her resentment of them came over very strongly in the book, even though she constantly denies that she feels any.
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Louise is not 'brave' as some other reviewers have suggested, she is a fiercely independent woman who has had to single-handedly and continuously fight the system for access to all of the things that people without disabilities take for granted. She knows her own mind and has her own ideas the same as everyone else, and if those thoughts, wants and needs are ignored or are not met by others 'who knows what's best for her' then I feel she has every right to voice her opinions and speak up for herself. Louise has physical and not learning disabilities, however many seem to lump both types of disabilities together and treat her accordingly. Louise is a very strong woman who has managed to steer herself through life, whilst no doubt often feeling like she's moving uphill through treacle. Every respect for her and what she's achieved. The only reason for four, rather than five stars, is because of some of the continued repetitiveness of sentences throughout the book. However, I very much enjoyed reading about Louise and the devastating effects of the thalidomide drugs and her parents reaction to giving birth to a baby with severe disabilities.
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I did enjoy this book as the central story is humbling but also shocking; having said that the shock factor needs to be understood in the context of the era the story is set in rather than what we would expect today. I hsdn't been aware of the extent of the coverup and was shocked by the apparent blind acceptance of it by most of the media of the day. The text is a bit jumpy in chronology in places but you need to forgive this to get to the very courageous tale of triumph over physical and institutional adversity liberally peppered with an inredible capacity for love and forgiveness of the author.
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Louise gives an honest account of her experiences and feelings growing up in the 60's as a child affected by the Thalidomide drug. She shows incredible resilience and determination which should be inspiring to others reading her story. Louise was placed in a children's home shortly after her birth and, as time moves on, she longs to be part of her own family however this proves to be fraught with problems and disappointments. Whilst recognising Louise's pain, the pain that her parents carried was evident, however Louise carries the 'burden' of their decision throughout her life, and this permeates in her expression and underlies her feistiness but also her vulnerability. This is an interesting book however, towards the end, the momentum of the book seemed to wain and I was pleased to have finished it.
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