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Publisher's Summary

"I'm in the middle of a full-blown spaz-attack, and I don't care. I don't care at all. At home I always try to act normal, and spaz-attacks definitely aren't normal. Here, people understand. They know a spaz-attack signals that I'm excited. They're excited too, so they squeal with me; some even spaz on purpose, if you can call that spazzing."

An unforgettable coming-of-age novel about what it's like to live with a physical disability.

It's the summer of 1970. Seventeen-year-old Jean has cerebral palsy, but she's always believed she's just the same as everyone else. She's never really known another disabled person before she arrives at Camp Courage. As Jean joins a community unlike any she has ever imagined, she comes to question her old beliefs and look at the world in a new light. The camp session is only 10 days long, but that may be all it takes to change a life forever.

Henry Holt published Harriet McBryde Johnson's adult memoir, Too Late to Die Young, in April 2005. Ms. Johnson has been featured in The New York Times Magazine and has been an activist for disability rights for many years.

©2006 Harriet McBryde Johnson (P)2006 Random House, Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group

Critic Reviews

"[Johnson] possesses a rare gift for writing in the present tense: readers will feel as if they are experiencing Jean's many small discoveries right along with her." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michelle
  • Mount Horeb, WI, USA
  • 08-30-06

I Loved this Book!

I found this book because I really enjoyed the narrator from the Secret Life of Bees. I did a search and found that she also did this book so I took a chance without knowing much about the this particular title.
I loved this book! It is a wonderful portrayal of a teenage girl with cerebral palsy who learns more than she bargained for at a sleep-away camp her parents want her to attend.
I have a son with autism and a Deaf cousin who are both highly-opinionated and intellegent about their "disabilities." They both remind me of the character Sarah who tells us "norms" that the voice of a disabled person can not only be blunt but downright inconvenient!
If you feel sorry for disabled people or pity them, this book is not for you. The author (a disabled woman herself) does not candy-coat the content with politically correct terms. It is an insider's view into a culture that deserves its own voice.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A ride in their wheels

Narrator did an outstanding job with character voices. I am an occupational therapist who used to work in Johnston County schools. Narrator has the accent right. The story is a revealing , inside view of life from someone with CP and a loving family. She meets others at camp with handicaps and explores their worlds and questions her own. The crips and the walkie talkies. Will be some skeptical when watching telethons. Loved experiencing the camp experiences with her. Very real and candid.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • jennifer
  • san francisco, california, US
  • 05-18-16

brilliant narrator

Wonderful point of view story . You will never look at telephones the same way.
I will enjoy reading more from this author. The narration was exquisite.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

above expectation

Profound depth emerges with the exploration of vivid characters and hilarity of dialogues.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • nicholas
  • DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CA, United States
  • 08-12-18

Excellent Book

What a fantastic book for young adults with and without disabilities. It touches on important disability rights issues while showing an interdependent community in which all campers are included and valued. It also highlights societies ableist tendencies, including telethons, institutions, discrimination, and employment. Highly recommended!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazinly Insightful

What did you love best about Accidents of Nature?

This title gave me an insight into what many disabled people must experience in a world that views them as "crips".

What about Jenna Lamia’s performance did you like?

I enjoyed the fact that it was written in first person.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

I have a toddler niece who has cerebral palsy and we often try to perceive what her world is and will be like. This book gave me an insight that I have shared with family members since listening. While there were parts that struck a personal defensive chord, it was painfully honest.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

well read

it was kind of dry buy well read and defenitely a different point of view that makes it worth reading