The memoir tells of author Francine Falk-Allen's struggle of living life with a disability, and how it affected her relationships, career, religion, athleticism, artistic expression, and aging.
This inspiring memoir will appeal to seniors, disabled people, and those interested in medicine because of its raw, emotional perspective on disability and aging as well as its reminiscences about the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.
Almost forgotten for decades in the US, it has been brought back into the spotlight by the anti-vaxxer movement-but for millions around the world, especially those who have residual or late effects of polio, this virus has never been old news.
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.
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.
"With plainspoken eloquence, Francine Falk-Allen brings to life the rich palette of emotions of her lifelong battles with polio-from its heartbreaks to its triumphs. Funny, inspiring, and bitingly honest, her book 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.
"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, The Scotsman, Scotland, UK.
"A beautifully written book about loss, pain, and finding the will to forge ahead. Falk-Allen writes openly and courageously . . . A first-rate memoir on all accounts."
- Brian Tiburzi, Executive Director, Post-Polio Health International
"Not a Poster Child is a memoir of wit, unstinting honesty, and compassion . . . a story of a woman with disabilities which fade as she confronts the essential questions of how to make a life."
- Susan Richards Shreve, author of Warm Springs: Traces of a Childhood.
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