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duminică, 24 aprilie 2016

Review: We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True story

We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True story
by Josh Sundquist

A bright, poignant, and deeply funny autobiographical account of coming of age as an amputee cancer survivor, from Josh Sundquist: Paralympic ski racer, YouTube star, and motivational speaker.

Josh Sundquist only ever had one girlfriend.
For twenty-three hours.
In eighth grade.
Why was Josh still single? To find out, he tracked down the girls he had tried to date and asked them straight up: What went wrong?

The results of Josh's semiscientific, wholly hilarious investigation are captured here. From a disastrous Putt-Putt date involving a backward prosthetic foot, to his introduction to CFD (Close Fast Dancing), to a misguided "grand gesture" at a Miss America pageant, this story is about looking for love--or at least a girlfriend--in all the wrong places.

Josh Sundquist is a bestselling author, motivational speaker, and Paralympic ski racer. He has spoken across the world to groups ranging from Fortune 500 companies to inner city public schools to the White House.

At age nine, Josh was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer and given a fifty percent chance to live. He spent a year on chemotherapy treatments and his left leg was amputated. Doctors declared Josh cured of the disease at age thirteen and he took up ski racing three years later.

He trained for the next six years and in 2006 he was named to the US Paralympic Ski Team for the 2006 Paralympics in Turino, Italy. A multi-season athlete, Josh is the only person in history to ever have been named to both the US Paralympic Ski Team and the US Amputee Soccer Team.

Josh's first memoir, Just Don't Fall, was a National Bestseller in hardcover and is now available in paperback and audiobook. It was been translated into German and is also available in an Australia/New Zealand edition, for which, as it turns out, no translation was required. His second memoir We Should Hang Out Sometime, which is about his adolescent dating disasters, is under development to become a movie. His debut novel Love and First Sight will be published in 2017.

Best known for his viral hit "The Amputee Rap," Josh has built a YouTube channel with over 25 million views and two-hundred-thousand subscribers. In 2010 he was a winner of both the YouTube NextUp and YouTube On The Rise contests.

Josh served a two-year tenure as the National Spokesperson for the Combined Federal Campaign, an effort that raises over $300 million dollars a year for charities. He has been featured on the back of Doritos bags nationwide for his work on behalf of amputees.

When I requested the ebook from Netgalley more than an year ago, I didn't know anything about Josh Sundquist, only that this book sounded like a hilarious read, but also one I could maybe learn a thing or two from. Since then, this book has been discussed on multiple Booktube channels that I follow, and the hype around it kind of put me off for a while. But now that the buzz has disappeared and I reread the description, I realised I was still interested in reading it and discovering Josh's experience.

Reviewing nonfiction is always harder, especially when it comes to (auto)biographies. You definitely can't forget the "characters" you read about are real people with feelings you have to consider when discussing the book, just in case they happen to read your review (who am I kidding, it's not like anyone will actually read reviews about a book they are featured in a year and a half after the publication date?). Luckilly, it isn't the case here, since nobody did anything unforgivable in this book, all social interactions Josh had presented being with more than decent human beings. Except maybe that creepy girl that keeps stalking him. But the author is such a nice person when he describes even those circumstances, trying to understand the mind and soul behind those actions rather than condemn her.

This book is seriously so inspirational! I admire the strength of the author in overcoming his disability while also understanding his need to be viewed as more than an amputee, after all he is not much different than any of us. The investigation he started seems at first funny but it has actually a deeper meaning. Josh finally is able to accept that his failed relationships in the past (most of which don't even involve kissing) are due to his own insecurity regarding his disability rather than the girls' inability to see past the missing leg or prosthesis/limping/awkward situations.

At times hilarious, at times deep, We Should Hang Out Sometime is a book that spoke to me on many levels. It brought back memories of past mistakes and things left unsaid, a lingering question that consumes us human beings at times: how would my life be different had I acted like that instead?

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