Beyond My Control: One Man’s Struggle with Epilepsy, Seizure Surgery & Beyond.
Author Stuart Ross McCallum is a brave man. Not only has he documented his battle with epilepsy, but also in writing Beyond My Control, he has laid bare his life for all of us to see, and as we do, judge. I made the decision to read this book as though I had never interacted with its author, and that’s a hard thing to do when you know how wonderful Stuart is. But I promise you that my review of his book is objective.
Beyond My Control is no ordinary autobiography. It is also an examination of how a medical condition affects a man and the people around him. The account is easy to read. It is well written and flows smoothly from one memory to the next. I have read many biographies and autobiographies and Stuart’s book stands up with the best of them.
The subject matter, on the other hand, was not an easy read for me. I found myself appalled by the treatment the author received from some people, including medical professionals. I was frustrated by the lack of progress the doctors were making and can only assume by my level of frustration, how Stuart must have been feeling. I experienced every emotion in this book with the author as he was retelling each incident.
There is a section of this book that made me hold my breath. I won’t reveal to you the particular incident because I really want each one of you to buy Stuart’s book and read it for yourself. I will say that Stuart openly discusses his battle with depression, and that the incident that caught me off guard is in regards to this. As I know Stuart, I can honestly say that I never would have believed, had I not read his own words, that this upbeat and beautiful soul endured that level of self-imposed isolation and pain. I am not ashamed to mention that the author had me in tears when describing this low point.
On a lighter note, I am so very glad that I am not the only person in the world who likes to commentate on their cooking using accents that fit the origin of the food!
While I do not know Stuart’s wife, Lisa, I feel that he gives the reader a marvellous insight into this woman. Clearly, she is strong, caring, understanding and compassionate, but so much more than that also. Lisa, I think Stuart best describes you in the dedication. You are truly remarkable, and thank you for getting him out of the studio and to the doctor when you did. Your strength and humanity are inspirational. What a role model you must be for your incredible children! I can’t find enough adequate adjectives to describe you, although amazing does come to mind.
Beyond My Control is a book that everyone needs to read. As a teacher I must deal with children who have epilepsy, and this book has given me a far better understanding of what those children are going through.
I highly recommend Beyond My Control to everyone. A book hasn’t affected me in a long time, and while I’m writing this review I am still trying to get my head around the gravity of what Stuart and his family have lived through. After reading Stuart’s work, I can tell you that I’m not the same person I was before I read it. Your words Stuart have changed me and that, I believe, is a sign of a great writer.
Through Twitter I have met a great number of authors – some self-published, some professionally published, some unpublished. Regardless of their publishing status, they are generous and supportive people. One of the most generous, supportive, and inspirational that I have had the privilege to connect with is Stuart Ross McCallum. I am honoured to be able to call Stuart my friend, more so now that I better understand the journey that he and his family have had to travel.
Thank you, Stuart for having the courage to share your story with the rest of us. It is an honour to have been able to read your book and get to know you better.
You can follow my friend Stuart Ross McCallum on Twitter – just look for @writer99.
Stuart also has a website that you can visit: http://www.beyondmycontrol.net
McCallum, Stuart Ross, Beyond My Control, iUniverse Books, 2008
ISBN 978-0-595-48705-9 (pbk)
ISBN 978-0-595-60802-7 (ebk)