09 July, 2014

Book Review: Ugly

From Goodreads: Robert Hoge was born with a giant tumour on his forehead, severely distorted facial features and legs that were twisted and useless. His mother refused to look at her son, let alone bring him home. But home he went, to a life that, against the odds, was filled with joy, optimism and boyhood naughtiness.
Home for the Hoges was a bayside suburb of Brisbane. Robert's parents, Mary and Vince, knew that his life would be difficult, but they were determined to give him a typical Australian childhood. So along with the regular, gruelling and often dangerous operations that made medical history and gradually improved Robert's life, there were bad haircuts, visits to the local pool, school camps and dreams of summer sports.
Ugly is Robert's account of his life, from the time of his birth to the arrival of his own daughter. It is a story of how the love and support of his family helped him to overcome incredible hardships. It is also the story of an extraordinary person living an ordinary life, which is perhaps his greatest achievement of all.


Thoughts: Another book I came across one day while shelving and decided to grab. I'd heard of Robert Hoge, seen a few of the publicity interviews when this book came out and knew that I wanted to read it.
First up this is a very well written memoir - unsurprising given Hoge's background as a journalist. However, I often find a journalist style doesn't transfer well to story telling. Hoge's however has spent a life time writing stories which was obviously a good grounding for this book. His style is easy to read, conversational. Along with looking a serious issues such as his medical care, Hoge's lightens the tone with stories of any normal Australian childhood. In fact for me, the strength of this book is the highlighting of the normality of his life. His struggles are ones many can identify with (fitting in, feeling/ looking different, making friends etc) even if the reasons for those differences are not the same.
Ugly is well worth the read if you are after a book to inspire you. It's a book that supports the theory that often the only limitations we have are the ones we place on ourselves.


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