HCI (2010), Edition: 1, Paperback (ISBN 0757315143 / 9780757315145)
Memoir/self-help, 200 pages
Source: Publisher. via TLC Book Tours
Reason for reading: Review/blog tour
Opening Lines (Chapter 1): “Seventy-five steep white concrete steps separate me from my hotel room in Santorini, Greece. I know because I counted them. But the motivation to descend each step down the cliff, where my hotel is nestled, makes the challenge worth it: my two favorite boys Cameron and Mikey and the promise of sharing with them a glass (or two or three) of crisp Greek white wine (which is similar to a sauvignon blanc) on the balcony of our honeymoon suite while watching the sunset hit the horizon of the vast Mediterranean.”
Book description, via the publisher: How does a girl who was originally predicted to live a wheelchair-bound existence become adventurous, self-assured, successful, and . . . unflappable? Standing 4 feet 2 inches tall in flats (which she would never be caught dead in, anyway), Lauren Ruotolo has spent her thirty-four-ish years seeing the world from a unique angle—upward facing. Lauren was born with McCune-Albright syndrome, a mysterious and rare genetic disease that researchers say occurs in anywhere between 1 in 100,000 and 1 in 1 million people. Some people with the condition tend to go the wheelchair route, but that was never a road Lauren wanted to travel. Her preferred method of transportation, instead, includes stiletto heels. Lauren has avoided the label of ‘disabled’ through uniquely discovering who she really is, and now you, too, can learn the secrets to living life in a big way.
Comments: I still have the original e-mail Lisa from TLC sent me about this book:
“Would you consider being on this tour, for obvious reasons ;-p”
They’re obvious if you’ve met me in person, anyway, which Lisa has – and once you know that Lauren Ruotolo is even shorter than I am. Although I usually don’t read “inspirational self-help,” I couldn’t turn down such a personalized invitation!
Lauren Ruotolo has the rare genetic disorder McCune-Albright syndrome, which has left her with fragile bones and kept her from growing any taller than 4’2”. However, it’s had no detrimental effects on her intellect and personality. Her determination not to see herself as “disabled” – or for anyone else to view her in that light either – has brought her into her mid-thirties with a successful career in her chosen field, a prosperous lifestyle, and an eagerness to share what a challenging life has taught her.
Unstoppable in Stilettos is a fast, breezy read, written very conversationally. Its author’s voice comes through strongly. At times, she came on just a bit too strong for me, actually, but she seems pretty self-aware about her bold personality, because it’s what she’s chosen to develop. Lauren’s condition was diagnosed when she was a small child, and she was fortunate to have parents who advocated for her and supported her drive not to get special treatment because of it. She came across to me as fiercely positive, but not without a willingness to be introspective, and she has some fun and interesting stories to tell.
I would have liked to know more specifics about Lauren’s condition itself and how it’s affected her, but perhaps because she has chosen not to dwell on it or let it limit her, she really doesn’t talk about it much beyond the basics. The “life lessons” she shares struck me as pretty basic too, but that’s probably because I’m older than what I perceive as the intended audience for them (and I admit to a bias against prescriptive advice books).
Aside from the self-help aspects, I found this a pretty enjoyable read. Lauren Ruotolo tells her story in an engaging and open manner, and I liked getting to know her. However, I do not share her opinions on shoes; I prefer heels between 1 and 3 inches high – and ironically, I was wearing flats both times I fell and dislocated my shoulder!
Other stops on this TLC Book Tour:
Monday, October 25th: Juggling Life
Thursday, October 28th: Stiletto Storytime
Tuesday, November 2nd: The House of the Seven Tails
Wednesday, November 3rd: Simply Stacie
Monday, November 8th: Daydream Believer
Wednesday, November 10th: In the Next Room
Monday, November 15th: A Nut in a Nutshell
Tuesday, November 16th: Silver and Grace
Thursday, November 18th: Girls Gone Reading
Tuesday, November 23rd: Amy’s Creative Side
Friday, November 26th: Rundpinne