Reaching for Heaven: Rebecca’s Journey with Proteus Syndrome

Rebecca Browder with Monica Dunnagan, M.S. PSY.

Publisher: iUniverse Pages: 88 Price: (paperback) $12.95 ISBN: 9781475928143 Reviewed: October, 2012 Author Website: Visit »

In her courageous memoir, 21-year-old Rebecca Browder offers readers a rare and honest glimpse into the world of the severely disabled. Her primary affliction, Proteus Syndrome (made famous in 1980 by the film about the so-called Elephant Man) has crippled her body, but not her mind or her soul.

As a child, Rebecca functioned almost normally in spite of innumerable surgeries to reduce the bone tissue that grew abnormally fast. Although doctors said she would neither walk nor talk, she did both until age 13, when her disease made her “bed bound.” Nevertheless, with the help of a home teacher, she completed her education and graduated with her class in 2010. Today, with the help of her parents, caregivers, and technology, she is fulfilling her dream to be a writer.

Even though the text is sometimes rambling or repetitive, the voice coming from this young woman’s heart is so charming that one must keep reading–just to connect with her. She peppers her candid story with Bible verses and other inspirational quotations, always reminding the reader of the source of her strength. She reaches out to people who need encouragement, hope, and, frankly, a kick in the pants to lift them out of self-pity and on to living life. Her strong faith in God both motivates and comforts her as she continues on her purposeful life journey.

In conjunction with Rebecca’s story and photos, co-author and psychologist Monica Dunnagan offers a scientific perspective into Proteus Syndrome, as well as some personal observations about Rebecca. Dunnagan’s style is more formal, even a bit dry at times. Her contribution is informative, however.

It’s a pity that the book went to print with so many grammar, punctuation and usage errors. These things could have been corrected without disturbing Rebecca’s voice, and in doing so created a more polished and marketable book.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

Author's Current Residence
Everett, Washington
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