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26: A Behind-The-Scenes Tour of Life with Cerebral Palsy Review

Stories about people who do extraordinary things and overcome something most of us would just concede to are some of my favorites. In 26: A Behind-The-Scenes Tour of Life with Cerebral Palsy, we meet Stuart Maloney. The number 26 is not random; it is his current age. More than that, it is the number of minutes it took him to begin breathing after his birth.


That’s right. Maloney, after a complicated delivery, was born dead. Just as doctors were about to give up on resuscitation efforts, he started breathing. 26 minutes had passed from his delivery to that first birth.

At 18 months he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and given 16 years as his maximum life longevity.

Now in 26, Maloney shares his 26 years of life with incredible tributes to his friends and family, anecdotes, and speaks in brutal honesty about incompeted health-care professionals in Peterborough, England, where he lives.

This is an engaging memoir about his life with Cerebral Palsy and how it has affected his journey. He shares his school years, making friends, encounters with bullies, and even his intimate life. His book is raw and made me think of Maloney as I do most people in my life: likable, angry at times, good-natured, mature, and successful. In fact, these are probably the characteristics I would speak of him about if we knew one another in real life with Cerebral Palsy as a footnote.

The odds seem against him as he develops a seizure disorder from whooping cough and renal vasculitis, but Maloney sees only the benefits and depicts them in such a manner you have to smile. For example, he shares his shaking fingers enhance the pleasure of his lady friends.

While many would be angry, Maloney reserves this for those who stereotype people.

I enjoyed this book and truly found inspiration throughout the book and love this:  “I found my life policy when I died at birth,” he writes, “and every day I try to live my life in accordance with words that I wrote and had tattooed on me so I don’t forget them: Forever my spirit breathes from within/Never will it leave or give in.”
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About Julee: Julee Morrison is an experienced author with 35 years of expertise in parenting and recipes. She is the author of four cookbooks: The Instant Pot College Cookbook, The How-To Cookbook for Teens, The Complete Cookbook for Teens, and The Complete College Cookbook. Julee is passionate about baking, crystals, reading, and family. Her writing has appeared in The LA Times (Bon Jovi Obsession Goes Global), Disney's Family Fun Magazine (August 2010, July 2009, September 2008), and My Family Gave Up Television (page 92, Disney Family Fun August 2010). Her great ideas have been featured in Disney's Family Fun (Page 80, September 2008) and the Write for Charity book From the Heart (May 2010). Julee's work has also been published in Weight Watchers Magazine, All You Magazine (Jan. 2011, February 2011, June 2013), Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine (Oct. 2011), Red River Family Magazine (Jan. 2011),, and more. Notably, her article "My Toddler Stood on Elvis' Grave and Scaled Over Boulders to Get to a Dinosaur" made AP News, and "The Sly Way I Cured My Child's Lying Habit" was featured on PopSugar. When she's not writing, Julee enjoys spending time with her family and exploring new baking recipes.
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