Not a Poster Child: Living Well with a Disability--A Memoir


Product Details

$16.95  $15.76
She Writes Press
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.5 X 1.1 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. As a former art major who got a BA in managerial accounting and ran her own business for thirty-three years, she has always craved creative outlets. Over the years, 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 a polio survivors' group in Marin County, and also a Meetup writing group, Just Write Marin County. She was the polio representative interviewed in a PBS/Nobel Prize Media film, The War Against Microbes. Falk-Allen resides in Marin County with her husband, Richard Falk. She loves mystery, and historical novels, and captivating biography and memoir, movies, music, pool exercise, the outdoors, travel, hanging out with good friends, lots of British tea, and a little champagne now and then.


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