Thursday, December 29, 2011


Title: Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope
Author: Gabrielle Giffords (Author), Mark Kelly (Author), Jeffrey Zaslow (Contributor)
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: November 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Memoir
Source: Library

I finally understand why I took so long to finish this book – HOPE. Something that is in short supply of during these times and I found that Gabrielle Gifford’s most challenging moment offers hope to the rest of us. The gunshot wound that she received to her head would have killed most people, but she fought, her husband fought, her parents fought and every one of her loved ones fought. This is a person that is loved and because of that love, we saw a miracle happen.

On January 8, 2011, while in Tucson at a Congress on Your Corner event Gabrielle Gifford’s was shot at point blank range. The book does not give much time, less than a paragraph more along the lines of three sentences, to the person who pulled the trigger. The effort of this book does not dwell on the evil, it concentrates on the positive. That with determination and patience – and top-notch medical care – a devastating brain injury did not end the life of a promising and beloved woman.

We may not all know the story of her husband, the astronaut Mark Kelly and Gabby, but through this book we get to see the man and woman that they are. His humor, his fight, his frustration – but most of all, we see the love he has for his wife. More importantly, through these pages, we see a determined woman, a young girl wanting to right wrongs and a politician that does not take the powers given to her for granted.

I know that the main point of this book was to introduce me to Gabrielle Gifford’s, but I think my take away was more about neuroscience. Mark Kelly does a remarkable job in explaining some of the intricacies of the human brain and how they translate into future abilities and disabilities.

Now I do not know if it was right to laugh during the experiences that were related in this story, but there is humor. Laugh out loud funny accounts of how the brain can fixate on a word and how when you can’t come up with the exact right term a substitute word can be funny , maybe not appropriate, but none the less funny.

Inspiring is a good word for this book. To see a good outcome from a horrible situation. I do not know if it would be realistic to think that Ms. Gifford’s will return to politics, but every life-challenging situation needs an advocate. Spinal injury had Christopher Reeves and traumatic brain injury now has Gabrielle Gifford’s. I just hope that she picks up this sword and fights for all – civilian and service personnel – that have had to battle the bureaucracy to get the care and treatment that they and their loved ones need and deserve.


mike draper said...

I've heard so much about this book.
Thanks for reviewing it and giving your opinion.

KarenJoan said...

Thank you for such an inspiring review. Well done.