Like Any Normal Day by Mark Kram, Jr. (St. Martin's $25.95) While this is Mark Kram's first book, he has been an award-winning author at the Philadelphia Daily News and has been included in The Best American Sports Writing Anthology 6 times. Here he brings us the story of a family whose lives are completely changed in 1973, when their son and brother was paralyzed in a football scrimmage.
Buddy Miley was the star quarterback for William Tennent high school when he was tackled and left a paraplegic. Buddy's younger brother becomes even more devoted to him, and his mother tirelessly takes care of him. Jimmy cheers him up, assists him on getting around and even taking him to Lourdes, in hopes of a cure. Later, Jimmy will take Buddy on quite another trip. Jimmy postpones following his own promising baseball career to stay with his brother, turning down two major league drafts and finally dropping out of his third chance after 6 months.
From the very beginning the much loved football star is helped by their community, with high school bake sales and local construction companies donating the materials and labor to add an accessible addition to the family home.
The is an amazing story of family love, written with a great honesty and tenderness. The reader is told at the beginning of Buddy and Jimmy's final trip together, to visit Dr. Kevorkian when Buddy decides to end his life. It is a story that will make you examine your own feeling about assisted suicide, but you won't regret reading the story of the Miley family.
Mark was given great access to the family to tell this story, he had written about Buddy in 1993, having read a letter Buddy's mom had written to Sports Illustrated. He stayed in touch with them over the years. Kram even interviewed Dr. Kevorkian just before his death. Here's a recent radio interview with Kram and Jimmy Miley.
I would like to thank Anne Johnson, my friend from The Gods Are Bored, for pointing out her dear hubby's publication. Congratulations, Mark! and Thank You for telling this story.