Not a Poster Child: Living Well with a Disability--A Memoir
Francine Falk-Allen (Author)
Description2019 Living Now Book Awards Gold Medal Winner in Inspirational/Memoir (Female) 2018 Sarton Women's Book Awards finalist in Memoir Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2018 2018 Sarton Women's Book Awards Silver Medal in Memoir Francine Falk-Allen was only three years old when she contracted polio and temporarily lost the ability to stand and walk. Here, she tells the story of how a toddler learned grown-up lessons too soon; a schoolgirl tried her best to be a "normie," on into young adulthood; and a woman finally found her balance, physically and spiritually. In lucid, dryly humorous prose, she also explores how her disability has affected her choices in living a fulfilling (and amusing) life in every area--relationships, career, religion (or not), athleticism, artistic expression, and aging, to name a few. A clear-eyed examination of living with a handicap, Not a Poster Child is one woman's story of finding her way to a balanced life--one with a little cheekiness and a lot of joy.
She Writes Press
August 07, 2018
5.5 X 1.1 X 8.5 inches | 1.0 pounds
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About the Author
Francine Falk-Allen was born in Los Angeles and has lived nearly all of her life in Northern California. A former art major with a BA in managerial accounting who ran her own business for thirty-three years, she has always craved creative outlets. This has taken the form of singing and recording with various groups, painting, and writing songs, poetry, and essays, some of which have been published. Falk-Allen facilitates Polio Survivors of Marin County and Just Write Marin County (a Meetup writing group), and is a volunteer member of the San Rafael City ADA Accessibility Committee. Her first book, Not a Poster Child: Living Well with a Disability: A Memoir has been included on several national outlet'ss' lists of best books of 2018, including Kirkus Reviews, BuzzFeed, and PopSugar, and received a gold medal from Living Now Book Awards for Inspiring Memoir - Female and a silver medal from Sarton Women's Book Awards for memoir. She was also named one of "25 Women Making a Difference in 2019" by Conversations Magazine. She loves the outdoors, gardening, pool exercise, her sweet, peculiar old cat, spending time with her husband and good friends, strong British tea, and a little champagne now and then. Francine lives in San Rafael, California.
2019 Living Now Book Awards Gold Medal Winner in Inspirational/Memoir (Female) 2018 Sarton Women's Book Awards finalist in Memoir Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2018 2018 Sarton Women's Book Awards Silver Medal in Memoir "Overall, this is a frank, no-nonsense account of living with a disability, edged with a razor-sharp wit . . . Bold, charming, and inspirational." --Kirkus Reviews "It's refreshing to see a sense of humor that leans absurdist rather than self-deprecating, and Falk-Allen's cheekiness enlightens as much as it endears. Not a Poster Child is enlivened by its uniquely compassionate approach to living with a disability as it confronts timely issues of vaccination, workplace accessibility, and life-affirming kindness." --Clarion/Foreword Reviews "Not a Poster Child places the reader inside the body of Polio - and into a world of surprising expectations. The view from Francine Falk-Allen's captivating memoir envelopes unexpected family dynamics and intimate insights only a writer who has "lived the life" can bring to the page. As the daughter of a Polio victim, this book brought me closer to my mother's experience and into a reality few have walked..." --Pamela Livingston, MA, MFA, Book Passage "With plainspoken eloquence, Francine Falk-Allen brings to life the rich palette of emotions of her lifelong battles with polio--the sorrows and joys, the heartbreaks and triumphs. Her book is funny, inspiring, and bitingly honest. It's a revealing, constantly surprising story that shines a new light on that eternal human question: how can we make the most of our lives?" --Edward Gray, Emmy Award-winning documentary producer and director "A beautifully written book about loss, pain and finding the will to forge ahead. Falk-Allen writes openly and courageously as she details a childhood spent overcoming first, a bout with polio, and then [another heartbreaking loss]. With equal parts humor and irreverence, she takes the journey through young adulthood and finally to the current challenge of dealing with the late effects of polio. A first-rate memoir on all accounts." --Brian Tiburzi, Executive Director, Post-Polio Health International "After thirty-five-plus years in publishing, this is the best personal manuscript I have ever encountered. [Falk-Allen has] a muscular style like Dave Eggers. [She has] made early childhood as compelling as Robert Louis Stevenson did. A strong, distinctive voice, coupled with an important story to tell." --Gillian Glover, former features editor for The Scotsman, Scotland, UK "Reading Not a Poster Child was one of those experiences where you suddenly realize you didn't know how much you didn't know. Not only did it pull back the curtain for me on what it's like to grow up handicapped, it also gave me deeper understanding of an old friend." --Steven Bratman, MD, author of Health Food Junkies "Not a Poster Child is a candid memoir that reminds us just how essential it is to find wholehearted engagement in life, no matter how difficult our path. It is eye-opening about the misinformation, types, and treatments of polio. While it chronicles the author's challenges of growing up with a physical disability, her gifts of approaching life with humor, openness, and a feisty spirit can embolden us all." --Leslie Davenport, author of Emotional Resilience in the Era of Climate Change "Not a Poster Child is a memoir of wit, unstinting honesty and compassion about Falk-Allen, who contracted polio as a child and has lived her life as handicapped, and ordinary. But this is not an ordinary story. You grow to love this character who is our heroine... a story of a woman with disabilities which fade as she confronts the essential questions of how to make a life . . . with love and rejection, searching and finding, failure and success . . . unwavering in her willingness to take on life and make it work on her behalf. In the end the reader--this reader--has a friend and confidant." --Susan Richard Shreve, author of Warm Springs: Traces of a Childhood at FDR's Polio Haven