Friday, May 1, 2015

Book Review: My Name is Bryan by Stacy Lynn Carrol

Title: My Name is Bryan
Author: Stacy Lynn Carrol
Enjoyment Rating: **
Source: Digital Copy
Content Alert: A clean read

Bryan is a recent high school graduate with his whole life ahead of him when he's paralyzed in a cliff jumping accident on a church-sponsored camping trip. Despite these challenges, Bryan forges ahead with his life, marrying, going to college, having children and a successful career, all while bound to a wheelchair with diminishing use of his hands.

Stacy Lynn Carroll says that My Name is Bryan is "based on a true story," but the book includes photos of Bryan (who is Stacy's father-in-law) and his family. It feels a lot more like a biography in narrative form than something that is "based on" a true story. I remember being in my MFA classes and my professors saying that writers who try to write fiction based on real life have a hard time changing how things really happened, even when it makes a story better. This is a case where I feel like the author is too close to the source. She doesn't take risks with the story or the narrative and seems to have the audience (family) in her sights at all times. This story is inspirational and the mechanics of her writing are fine, but I think it would have been a better read for me if I knew what it was (a family story) when I went into reading it.

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