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Life, Interrupted: The True Story of a Life Driven by Tourette's Paperback – 5 Apr 2007
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'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)
A memoir of obsession, compulsion, loneliness, alcoholism, music, the quest for identity, the search for love, some very fine jokes and late-diagnosed Tourette'sSee all Product description
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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............
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. Like 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time,' 'Life, Interrupted' offers a window on a weird and wonderful world of difference, through the experiences of an enormously likeable and engaging hero. This is a world where normal life is lived in parallel, because, until the Tourette's Syndrome is diagnosed, James is set apart by his condition. When the moment of truth finally comes, and he at last knows what the problem is, it is a fitting reversal. The 'controller' and the 'beast' become the 'brat.' Suddenly, we know for sure that James is going to be all right. He won't be lonely anymore. Rather than playing the piano in a succession of seedy club and bars, he will become a successful composer. That Tourette's Syndrome, now he finally knows what it is, will bring with it humanity, compassion and even brilliance, rather than degradation and despair.
I was so pleased with the knowledge James McConnel had given to me, by bearing his soul to the world in this way. James should be commended and applauded for sharing himself in this book, for each person who reads it WILL approach TS in a proper manner.
Having read this book some time ago, as a fellow writer who appreciates feedback on my own books, I emailed James McConnel to thank him and to my suprise he replied to me. A good man, an excellent writer and a truly outstanding book.
Glad to see it is now on Kindle too. There are only 5 stars to award - James McConnel's book deserves TEN.
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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