Book Review: “One-Handed in a Two-Handed World”
by Tommye-Karen Mayer

Reviewed by Michael J Roberts


Tommye K. Mayer’s book “One Handed in a Two Handed World” is a good read and a useful resource for stroke survivors and their caregivers.  Mayer had her stroke 19 years before writing this book.  She was 23 at the time.  To me, that seems an even more difficult age to face the problems of hemi-paresis than midlife.  Common problems in youth might include work, landlords, school, and romance.  Those things dwindle when examined next to long-term or permanent disability.  They’re also compounded.  Lucky me!  My wife loves me even if I can’t carry her up three flights of stairs and across the threshold as I did at our wedding.  Knowing that I have faced and overcome earlier challenges in life reassures me about my ability to recover from my own stroke.


I shared my copy of the last book I reviewed (Kirk Douglas’s “My Stroke of Luck”) with a couple in my swimming class.  They were a little disappointed, feeling that it offered nothing practical for those of us who aren’t Spartacus.  Mayer’s book is very much the opposite.  It is filled with strategies for all kinds of everyday activities like peeling an orange, tying a necktie, opening an envelope, donning a brasserie, and pantyhose.  I haven’t tried those two out yet, but trust from the sensible step-by-step approach taken to other tasks in this book that they work.  Mayer talks briefly about her grandfather Duke, an amputee from an industrial accident and how he managed to cope.  She also gives readers her 3 Secrets.  These are: 1) body positioning. 2) Four fingers and a thumb, and 3) gadgets.  It’s been said that genius examined later seems only like common sense and Mayer’s thoughts are surely commonsensical.  She has written another book.  This one’s about running.  I’m looking forward to reading it.


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