The story is enough.

The story is enough.

Monday, April 25, 2016

If At Birth You Don't Succeed by Zach Anner

This review can also be seen in the Canon City Daily Record.

"If at birth you don't succeed," try, try anyway. That's Zach Anner's adage. Well, that and "You go to Olive Garden to live life." 

Our "greatest failures can be catalysts for triumph." Here, in this hilarious and charming memoir, we are convinced from the introduction that one can find purpose and humor in every misstep. We endure the falling down because we know what awaits when we finally pick ourselves back up.

Zach Anner says his first failure was birth - he arrived early and outfitted with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition that affects body movement, coordination and balance, and just happens to be "the sexiest of the palsies." So while he flails at random, cannot convince his eyes to track a line in a book, needs to be in a wheelchair, and his words don't always have dulcet tones, he is not to be stopped. Zach made films at the University of Texas long before he became a YouTube sensation, and won a reality TV show competition on Oprah's network. He has created countless comedy routines, an exercise series, a travel show, and programming investigating religions of the world. He has grown from his ten year old infatuation with Cindy Crawford, to speed dating, and on to falling in love. The little boy moved from adaptive PE classes to writing his own music as an adult. "If At Birth You Don't Succeed" is the "unlikely - though not unlucky - story" of a child growing up - and all of the uncomfortable faux pas and bloopers along the way.

Comedy is universal, and with this book, nothing is off-limits. While Zach accepts the realities of his life, he also shares intimate details with familiarity and connection. In a wheelchair or not, we can laugh with recognition. We've all experienced shame, fear, and nervousness. We've all had to move beyond immaturity, and take a stand. While reading, you often just shake your head, taking a moment to chuckle at the ridiculousness inherent in being human.

At moments gentle and quiet, this memoir is also irreverent and fierce. Humble and modest, yet infectious and laugh-out-loud, Zach's humor is not just for humor's sake. It has a driving purpose - to encourage us all to laugh at our own inadequacies. We become his friend, and he, ours throughout these pages. Zach's honest observations about human response in various situations is astute, quite instinctual actually, and his timing for delivery of each joke is spot on. He often reminds us that "sometimes the only difference between mistakes and miracles is what you choose to call them."

Photo credit:,204,203,200_.jpg

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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