How does a girl who was told she would spend her life in a wheelchair become confident and successful? She decides to become unstoppable! Standing 4 feet 2 inches tall, Lauren Ruotolo was told at a young age that she was destined for life in a wheelchair because of a rare genetic disorder called McCune-Albright syndrome. Lauren didn’t accept this news, and decided to flip the script. She ditched the wheelchair for her preferred mode of transportation: stilettos. She threw out the “disabled” label in favour of authentic self discovery. And she turned her small stature into a big, beautiful life full of love, joy and success.
Unstoppable in Stilettos is Ruotolo’s story of how she not only comes to terms with everything her disability means but also how she thrives because of it.
I requested this ARC because I have a disability. I have hydrocephalus, which affects my mobility and my spatial awareness amongst other things. When I was younger, I was told (as Ruotolo was) that I would more than likely spend life in a wheelchair. Doctors didn’t expect me to walk, talk or do things that other children were doing. Of course, somehow, I proved the doctors, my parents and myself wrong and did all those things and more. Despite my triumphs, I feel like – aside from doctors appointments and the fact that I can openly discuss my disability with my family – navigating a disability (especially one that I don’t know anyone else who has it!) is like walking down a lonely road. Reading about someone having similar struggles to me was like having someone to guide me down the lonely road, and it made me feel a little less lonely.
Ruotolo’s narrative is factual, but you’re not bogged down by the detail. I liked the fact that she told us so much about her disability, how it affected her and those closest to her and how – at least at first – things weren’t all sunshine and rainbows. She takes us through her birth, to her childhood, to her teenage years right through to the present day. Her tone feels conversational and friendly, so much so – by the end of her story – I felt as if I was reading a book written by an old friend.
Ruotolo blends a variety of stories into this book, from the downright embarrassing (think the incident with the dog and her crutches) to the utterly hilarious (imagine being remembered by a rapper after all that time!), to show how her disability has impacted her life and also how she’s dealt with everything with an air of confidence.
Even though Ruotolo’s story is about her, she weaves in advice for the reader throughout the book, so it feels like a memoir with a bit of self help mixed in. She gives the reader advice on dressing well, dealing with hardships, romance, friendships and much more. I couldn’t help myself highlighting various sections on my Kindle.
Unstoppable in Stilettos is a story full of authenticity, self-love and being proud of who you are. At a time when everything’s a bit up in the air, this book was the perfect antidote. Funny, sassy but gut-wrenchingly real.
Again, I just want to thank NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for the ARC.
Unstoppable in Stilettos will be published on 5th December 2020.