“Stutterer Interrupted- The Comedian who almost didn’t happen” is a memoir from Nina G: Comedian, professional speaker and disability advocate! I have come across few memoirs this honest and so full of humorous but humane insights into our stuttered and interrupted lives. Nina talks about her childhood, her brush with special education, friendships, academic struggles- she had dyslexia besides stuttering. Even though she did earn a doctorate in Psychology, her career flourished in a community college- where she, as the counselor, offered the students with disabilities, what she herself rarely had as a child – acknowledgment and understanding.
She frankly discusses the issues which a stuttering child may face within the family; A good example was how her conservative Italian American family, at her beloved Grandmother’s death, accommodated Nina’s desire to pay an eulogy, rather than read from scriptures (which can be so difficult for a pws in a public gathering), at the burial. Many of us live a rather two dimensional life- like a cardboard cut out, perhaps as a coping strategy. Eventually that becomes our reality over the years. Writing a detailed biography and with such honesty is perhaps a good safeguard.
Nina talks about dating, relationships, recovering from dysfunctional ones and then marching on. She also documents the positive role played by National Stuttering Association (NSA, America), friends, mentors, colleagues and family. She finally takes the courage to do what she always wanted to do: stand up comedy! But in a male dominated sphere, she had to work hard. Making someone laugh is never easy. In fact it requires a very high degree of intelligence and empathy. Her high moment came when she not only cracked jokes but also took hecklers in her big stride and turned the joke on them. One of these videos made her extremely popular on YouTube.
On one of these comedy circuits, she met her soulmate, her future husband- Ethan, another Comic Artist! Let me leave the details for you to read in the book. So yes, if you are single and Tinder has not helped, read this book! Nina of course is not giving out advice on dating -but one can certainly learn from her diverse experiences, which are quite relevant to pws! And if you are a woman, stammer or not, you should read it all the more: a woman can live her dreams not just because of her own grit, but also because she knows how to reach out to potential allies and accepting their help. No woman is an island, if we may paraphrase. Nina thanks all such wonderful and real people at the end and leaves us with lots of resources, TISA being one among them!
A note of caution: As a thoroughbred American comedian, Nina has used strong language here and there! American English, as a living language is constantly on the march! I myself learned couple of new words, like ‘stuttersplain’ and ‘assholisms’! I will leave you to find out the deep meaning of these new words (no, your therapist will have no clue, ha ha!). Finally, you may have to, like me, google up some references to American cultural scene and usages, here and there. But googling who Emo Philips was, does help deeper appreciation of the story Nina is telling. And what a story!
The book is available for pre-order on Amazon but the price is Rs 5,415/-, perhaps due to import duty (link). Actual price is 16.95 usd only. It will be available from 6th August 2019 only. You may want to order Kindle version which is only Rs 730. May be after sometime used copies will also be available on amazon at a lower price. In the meantime, check out her YouTube videos. Her website is: