Thursday, February 20, 2014

Guest Review: Keeping My Balance by Stephanie Torreno

Today's review is written by author Lilia Fabry.

In 1973, complications during Stephanie Torreno’s birth resulted in the diagnosis of cerebral palsy at the age of one. Educating themselves about the condition, Stephanie’s parents sought intensive physical, occupational, and speech therapy for their daughter. These therapies in early childhood and throughout school assisted Stephanie in learning to walk and speak while having limited mobility, significant challenges with fine motor skills, and articulation difficulties. 
Stephanie’s narrative chronicles her experiences growing up with a physical disability and her parents’ advocacy for her, an above-average student, in receiving a mainstreamed education. She describes learning alongside typical classmates without handwriting ability and her parents’ continuous fight for academic modifications and individualized services. 
In a deeply personal memoir, Stephanie writes about traumatic family events, including her father’s suicide. She illustrates her pursuits to become more independent while coping with additional loss. Stephanie takes readers through her quest to obtain a college education, her attempts to gain meaningful employment, and her emotional journey to live independently.

My Thoughts:
Whenever I hear the term “memoir” used in non-fiction, I immediately think “whine-a-thon” even if the subject matter is whine-worthy. While I don’t mind getting bummed from reading, I also require a balance of joy and laugher keeping in some sort of step with sorrow and tears.
Stephanie does not fail to deliver to a reader like me. Her narrative reads more like something that happened to you rather than a story being told by a stranger. You step as she does, laugh as she does, feel devastation as she does, and above all, persevere with her. Stephanie’s trials are those we all experience: school, growing pains, family issues, aging parents, and the changes we do and don’t see coming. She takes them on with a contagious humility. 
Additionally, cerebral palsy forces Stephanie to type with a single finger, yet she uses her whole heart for the rest.

My Rating: ****

Where to get it: 

About the author:
Stephanie Torreno graduated from Houston Baptist University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and technical writing. Her work included numerous online articles exploring education, special education, and mental health topics. She also wrote an online newsletter for supported employment professionals focused on obtaining work for individuals with disabilities.

Where to find the author:

Lilia’s Bio:
L. Fabry attended the University of Houston where she was overwhelmed by the talent of her faculty and peers. She now writes about everything from reaction injection molding to sex robots in between indulging her need for creative outlets including novels and screenplays.
In her new novel, “Ordinance 93 ,” a law prevents births without government permission, and four people are about to break it. Find out more about it and L. Fabry on

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