(43)New Life, No Instructions by Gail Caldwell

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

New Life, No Instructions

Pages: 176

Publisher: Random House Publisher
Publication Date: April 1, 2014

Gail Caldwell has always identified herself as the person who someone who survived polio.  She was diagnosed with polio at six months old towards the end of the polio era. But Gail knows how lucky she was to survive polio with nothing more than a slight limp.  Now it is more than a half-century later and that slight limp has turned into a painful limp with multiple falls. The right doctor discovers that her hip has disintegrated and she is now in need of a new hip.  In a brief, yet touching memoir, Gail Caldwell takes us with her on the journey to her new hip. From her days as a toddler to getting her beloved dog, Tula and Tula's exuberance that kind of prompted the trip to the doctor.  In an honest memoir the author shares with us what it is like to shift the way you identify yourself and redefine your life when it is half over. 

New Life, No Instructions is one of those books that you read and you just know the author has a talent that is so rare. Her memoir is short at under 200 pages, but with her way of writing, she doesn't need more than that to make an impact on her readers.  It is obvious that this is a woman who, despite everything, is comfortable with who she has become in life.  Even when her identity is challenged with the surgery and adjustments, both physical and mental, you know that this is a woman who is going to come out on top.  It was inspiring to read.  I also loved to read her tales of Tula's puppy-hood.  I have never had a Samoyed kind of dog, but I certainly remember the puppy-hood of my mutt, Bailey, so I found myself chuckling in understanding a couple of times. Puppy-hood is not for the weak, that is for sure.

Bottom line, I know we are a few days past Mother's Day, but New Life, No Instruction would be a great read for anyone entering the second half of their life. There is something of value reading a book about a woman who is re-identifying herself in the second half of her life.  Really, truly, a great read.

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