Review by Helen Gurley Brown
When people take a special interest in a cause or philanthropy, have you noticed they may be doing it because a loved one or a family member is afflicted with the disease? That was the case for me when my sister Mary got polio as a teenager, long before Salk vaccine, and remained in a wheelchair the rest of her life. I was madly reading accounts of the work of the March of Dimes though nothing could bring back my sisters lost muscle power.
In more recent years I have become aware of Parkinsons because the husband of a dear friend fought so valiantly against the disease, then died of complications. Perhaps that association has caused me to read "Voices from the Parking Lot parkinsons insights and perspectives" with such intense interest though anyone reading this material would find it haunting and inspiring enough to make the reader somehow want to "be a better person" himself or herself! As an editor I marvel at the writing so beautiful. The businessman who dreamt of wealth and power, "Five days a week I threw my briefcase in the car." He now throws handfuls of hay at his beloved horses at a country house, devotes himself to his beloved 15-year old daughter as she moves into adulthood and sometimes he falls down. "No clumps of grass to blame, no dog that caused me to trip, nothing but the effects of a dopamine problem called Parkinsons."
One can feel the heartache of the Australian girl who reminds us that her father was an actor, dancer, cyclist, snorkeler, astronomer so many more identities than "just a Parkinsonian."
One shares the belief of the mother who feels her children will be better, more compassionate grown-ups because of their years with mummys "frozen face, shaking limbs" and feels deep sympathy for another mother who wishes her own mother wouldnt be quite so "helpful."
They seem to have it all screwed up the old are not supposed to be taking care of the young. So much of this book is poetry (much harder than prose, in my opinion) but in a way it is all poetry. Robin Elliott is surely right "this book will be an enduring source of inspiration to the community of millions who live with Parkinsons every day and, even more powerfully, serve as a spur to conscience and call to action to those of us who are not direct participants in their daily struggle."
It certainly has me.
Helen Gurley Brown
Cosmopolitan International Editions