Misadventures of a Happy Heart: A Memoir of Life Beyond Disability starts with the tingling of Amy Quincy’s lips. Only a few months later, the tangle of blood vessels at the base of her brain bursts, triggering a life-altering hemorrhagic brain injury. Amy’s life as she knew it is over. And her future—the massage therapy business she built, the adventures she planned, the home life she imagined—becomes a distant veil.
Fortunately, Amy’s sly humor and tenacious attitude is just what’s needed to deal with months of rehab and coming to terms with not only what she’s lost, but what’s she’s gained. Amy’s keen insight reveals the truth about how people react to those with disabilities. In this unflinching memoir she shares what aggravates and hurts her, the moments of genuine connection and understanding, as well as the hilarious mishaps that make her the unintended heroine of her own sitcom. Follow along as she wipes out an entire display of Rice-a-Roni in the grocery store with her motorized cart. Or as Amy the responsible pet walker attempts to maneuver the dreaded plastic bag with the use of one arm, all the while struggling with a pup who enjoys making a cat’s cradle out of his leash. Then there’s the first time she helped herself to ice cream and wound up covering herself and the kitchen floor in Dibs. Slowly, through it all, a new life emerges, one stripped bare of pretense and taken-for-granted expectations. An unexpected life. A life Amy never asked for, but a good one in spite of everything.
Misadventures of a Happy Heart: A Memoir of Life Beyond Disability is a wake-up call that shows the rest of us how to find the courage to face whatever fate flings our way—and to do it with moxie. It’s a bridge for the 43 million disabled people in the U.S. and their 52 million caregiving family members and friends. It’s for those who are profoundly impacted by disability, as well as for all of us who love to read stories that break stereotypes.
Amy shows us how to dig deep to find that we’re capable of so much more, even when life throws a whammy into our plans. She challenges how we see ourselves and others, disabled or not. Amy’s story is fresh and relevant. This is no sappy memoir. Misadventures of a Happy Heart: A Memoir of Life Beyond Disability will have you smiling on page one and laughing by page three. Readers tumble into Amy’s world to find angels in rehab disguised as nurses and physical therapists, and a family not unlike our own—with more flaws and idiosyncrasies than a therapist’s waiting room. After facing the challenges of learning to speak and manage a wheelchair, Amy announces she plans to live independently and write—even though she has severe ataxia and only partial use of one hand.
In Misadventures of a Happy Heart: A Memoir of Life Beyond Disability we meet Amy’s less than typical, her in recovery lesbian mother and Frankie, Mom’s pooch who offers the best kind of comfort and much-needed comic relief at every turn. The reader is drawn into a world that is both refreshing and familiar—family angst and hilarity, clueless doctors, endearing strangers, hapless friends and the sweet everyday joys and setbacks that give life its rich texture. Written in short chapters, Misadventures of a Happy Heart: A Memoir of Life Beyond Disability is both educational and entertaining. Amy is brave enough and honest enough to let us in, really in. To show us that we’re not so different after all. Misadventures of a Happy Heart: A Memoir of Life Beyond Disability is so much more than a book about a traumatic event. It’s about a kick-ass life.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Informal Caregiving: Compassion in Action. Washington, DC: 1998, and National Family Caregivers Association, Random Sample Survey of Family Caregivers, Summer 2000, Unpublished