Reviews for Dwarf : A Memoir
Booklist Reviews 2012 November #1
Most people eventually learn that not only does the world not revolve around them but it doesn't even bend to their liking. While some never learn, DiDonato had to face these hard truths sooner and more cruelly than others. Born with a relatively rare genetic disorder called diastrophic dysplasia, at 11 she was not much taller than a preschooler. With dwarfishly shortened arms and legs, DiDonato was unable to perform even such simple tasks as flipping on a light switch or getting a carton of milk from the middle shelf of a refrigerator, much less brush her own hair and tend to personal hygiene. The independence most preteens enjoy was impossible for her. Her physical want of stature and reach, however, did not extend to the length and breadth of her grit and determination. So she endured several torturous surgical procedures to increase her height by an astonishing fourteen inches. DiDonato's dramatic memoir is testament to the realist's view of life--use every tool in your toolbox to adjust to the world around you. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2012 October #1
With the assistance of People editor Dyball (co-author: A Famous Dog's Life: The Story of Gidget, America's Most Beloved Chihuahua, 2011, etc.), first-time author DiDonato tells the remarkable tale of her lifelong battle to overcome diastrophic dysplasia, a crippling genetic disorder that not only causes unusually short limbs, but chronic arthritis. While many children long to be taller, the author decided early on to do whatever it took to combat her body's literal shortcomings so she could perform such ordinary tasks as taking out the trash. Born with clubbed feet, the author underwent her first corrective surgery when she was 2 days old and then again at the age 2. With arms so short she couldn't reach her own ears or other body parts, DiDonato improvised, employing salad tongs to wipe herself and help pull up her socks. But at 8 years of age and standing only 3 feet 8 inches tall, the constant desire for greater independence led her and her mother to seek out radical bone-lengthening treatments. A veteran of dozens of childhood surgeries, DiDonato viewed the pain and temporary immobility resulting from these grueling procedures as mere means to an end. Having gained four inches from her first lengthening surgeries and endured their torturous aftermath, the author chose to undertake the procedures again at 15, seeking out a surgeon who would enable her to risk going beyond the recommended additional three inches in height to whatever length her body could take. Throughout this engaging memoir, the author's resolve to do "whatever it takes to live an independent life" proves unwavering, even in the face of criticism from others facing similar challenges who considered her choices motivated by a lack of self-acceptance. Sappy toward the end, but mostly uplifting and profound. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Journal Express Reviews
Born with a rare form of dwarfism, DiDonato didn't realize she was different until her friends grew taller than her and she found herself needing special tools to do daily tasks. After undergoing dozens of minor surgeries, DiDonato decided to suffer through two additional ones, painful bone-lengthening procedures. Doctors strategically broke her bones and forced her to live with pins in her arms and legs for about a year. The result was a radical extra 14 inches added to her originally three-foot, eight-inch frame. Verdict DiDonato's book reads like a long, inspirational email from a friend or a very personal blog post. This isn't a pity party, but DiDonato's writing isn't as memorable as her story. While DiDonato's experiences will appeal to anyone tall, short, or in between, the narrative suffers-some sections feel choppy, glossed over, or forced. (DiDonato's parents are saints, and her teenage years are mysteriously empty of argument and bitterness.) A good story hampered by too casual a writing style.-Kathleen Quinlan, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.