Each month, Sally Vince reviews a book about Clare or a book by a Clare-based author. This month, Sally reviews “Me and My Backbone” by Siobhán Mungovan with Carol Byrne.
Clare woman Siobhán Mungovan was born in 1986 with spina bifida (the literal translation of this is “split spine”). This was a huge shock to her parents, who knew nothing about the condition and were given the frightening prognosis that Siobhán would never walk, would be brain damaged and would need 24/7 care.
Twenty-eight years later Siobhán has, with the help of Carol Byrne, written her story – from that shocking diagnosis to today, where this vibrant young woman is living independently, working independently and walking independently. Those twenty-eight years haven’t been easy, with many operations and set-backs; but they have also been years full of love, friendship and laughter. Whenever a new challenge has arisen, Siobhán has found a way to face it with the support of her parents, two brothers and good friends. And as Siobhán says, she and her mam, Geraldine make a great team.
This uplifting book focuses not on illness and disability, but on living life to the full in the circumstances you find yourself in. It talks about growing up in rural Ireland, about how families work together and adapt as they need to, about strong bonds and independence, about hopes and dreams, about friendship … and about not lying when you get caught smoking.
Carol Byrne, a journalist for Clare Champion, has made a great job of transcribing Siobhán’s words. If you know Siobhán or listen to Clare FM’s podcast, you can tell it is Siobhán’s voice and ever-present humour on the page – it takes a good writer to convey that.
It is an easy, satisfying and touching read.
The book is available from the Ennis Bookshop, O’Mahony’s, McGrath’s in Connolly, and other shops around the county. It is available mailorder from O’Mahony’s http://www.omahonys.ie/catalog/me-my-backbone-p-419336.html, and the ebook can be downloaded from Amazon.
Twitter Siobhán Carol
Podcast with Clare FM.
Interview with the Clare Champion
SBHI, Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland www.sbhi.ie
Publisher: Book Hub Publishing, Galway www.bookhubpublishing.com