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Stutterer Interrupted
The Comedian Who Almost Didn’t Happen
By Nina G

She Writes Press
July 2019 / ISBN 978-1631526428

Reviewed by Leslie C. Halpern

With the title Stutterer Interrupted, readers might expect a memoir about the literal and figurative interruptions in the life of someone who stutters, and that’s exactly what this book provides. The author (who also has dyslexia) is a disability advocate by day and standup comedian by night, so much of her time is spent educating the able-bodied to be more sensitive to the disabled.

Non-stutterers have offered the author unsolicited advice throughout her life that has no connection to the physiological condition that causes stuttering. “Just breathe,” “relax,” and “get intrusive brain surgery” are among the more common suggestions she has heard. As a child, the author (who earned a doctorate and performs a variety of public speaking assignments) was told repeatedly that she did not have the aptitude to do anything beyond flipping burgers at a fast food restaurant. Her standup routines, advocacy, doctorate, and this book reflect her defiance at being told what she can’t do.

With the subtitle, The Comedian Who Almost Didn’t Happen, readers might expect the memoir to be a comical look at the author’s life experiences, but that’s not what this book provides. Instead of a light look back, she offers a bold, confrontational, and aggressive examination of those who’ve helped her and those who’ve hurt her. Occasional glimpses of Nina G’s humor also are included in the book (e.g., putting ketchup on a sanitary napkin before sticking it to the wall and heckling hecklers at comedy shows about their presumably small penises), although her comedy is secondary to her stories about disability.

This book is most effective as a memoir about a stutterer and dyslexic who overcame most of the stigmas, barriers, and baggage associated with disability (while still maintaining the disabilities). The book informs those without disabilities how she prefers to be treated, because as stated in the introduction: “When all is said and done, I can only speak for myself.”

Reviewer: Leslie C. Halpern is the author of four nonfiction books, including 200 Love Lessons from the Movies and four children's books, including Silly Sleepytime Poems.
Reviewed 2019