Gasner’s writing is as inspiring as it is emotionally powerful, peppered with transparent anecdotes on how the disease impacted her motor skills, created fear about the future (medical information at the time of her diagnosis, in the 1990s, predicted a lifespan of just 25 years), and stymied her college plans. Threaded throughout is Gasner’s perseverance and refusal to sacrifice her aspirations. Even when she’s forced to table her dream college because its campus is too large for her to physically navigate, she holds onto hope that her future just needs a few minor adjustments—and she’s proven right in the end: Gasner is successful at a smaller college and later obtains a graduate degree from Western Illinois University.
Aside from detailing her debilitating symptoms and constant adapting, Gasner shares the fun times as well, covering her college parties, interesting new friends (including the singer Dave Matthews), and the typical young adult romance adventures. Though harrowing, her story is ultimately one of overcoming: "I’ve learned to accept my early ableist thoughts as a marker of youth and inexperience… While I have learned a lot, I know there is always more to absorb."
Takeaway: Rousing account of navigating life with Friedreich’s ataxia.
Comparable Titles: Eddie Ndopu’s Sipping Dom Pérignon Through a Straw, Rebekah Taussig’s Sitting Pretty.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A