Who knew he had a sexy drawl and looks pretty flashy in red! Listen to the audio interview recorded on October 3, with Ben Kieffer of The Exchange on Iowa Public Radio. Gary also did a reading at Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City.
Seven Wheelchairs, his memoir, currently ranks at 77,822 on Amazon.
Way to go Gary!
Here's a copy of the review I posted at Amazon:
"I've been fortunate to read bits and pieces, essays and writings of the author's for several years as a fellow member of the Internet Writing Workshop, including much of what is his memoir. But it wasn't until I sat down to read the finished product that I realized what an emotional and insightful read it would be. It is a given that this is stellar prose. The writing alone is enough reason to buy the book and read -- and reread it.
But the truth and power of those words. He answers the questions I never thought to ask beginning with the memory of those last steps before polio took away his legs. He told of being confined in an iron lung, not with pity or melodrama, but through the eyes of a devastated, angry teen age boy who was confused and frightened. A boy who had gone from working on his lay up shots to a non-entity swallowed up by a machine. And we move forward with him. We see him making an independent living, but more than that we see him coming to terms with his physical limitations, learning the landscape, what it means to live with disabilities in plain sight, in mainstream culture. We see him moving beyond the anger to find something we all wish we could find -- his true niche where he belongs and can accept and be accepted for the man he is, not for the equipment he must use.
Since this is written in connected essays, much of the problem that arises in first memoir and fiction is left behind. No awkward transitions, no tap dancing to get from one important moment to the next. It is a tightly written, powerful book that takes readers inside of the world of disabilities as none before. And inside of the life of one very human, but determined man.
I met Gary Presley when I joined the Internet Writing Workshop. His writings, his self-deprecating sense of humor, his truth, and his generous supportive ways drew me to him. When my husband became disabled, Gary jumped right in and helped us find our way through that alien culture called 'disability.' Who knew better this new landscape than a man who had been wheeling through it for nearly a half-century!?
He's never maudlin nor melodramatic. It is a book that can be read in pieces or as a whole and the writing itself stands strong alongside the best. A must read for anyone who knows someone living a life fraught with disabilities. A must read for anyone who has ever seen a person in a wheelchair and looked away."
The photo was taken by Ruth Douillette's husband.