Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review: Life Is Short (No Pun Intended): Love, Laughter, and Learning to Enjoy Every Moment by Jennifer Arnold and Bill Klein

I'm a long-time fan of The Little Couple. I wouldn't have thought I would be, but with all the crappy realty shows out there, it's nice to see such a regular couple featured (and so positive too), even if they might not seem regular, as they are both Little People. But they truly are. Jennifer is a doctor specializing in neonatology and in teaching medicine using simulation. Bill co-founded a sales leads business back in New York but sold it when Jen got this fabulous job in Texas, and now he owns a pet boutique which his mother-in-law manages. They moved across country, built their dream home (which was much more complicated than usual due to their height issues and wanting a house that works for them, while being compliant with the laws, and also that will work for them in the future which means things like an elevator), and most recently have adopted two children internationally (also LPs.) They go on vacations, see their families, and Jen wins awards and gives speeches. Jen also came down with a very rare cancer last year although it was aggressively treated (thanks to Bill who noticed that the chemo initially didn't seem to be affecting her and he figured out that while Jen is about half the weight of a normal adult, they shouldn't be giving her half the medication, because she has full-sized organs, and this changed everything.)

I ran out to get this book right away mostly due to Jen and Bill's amazingly positive attitudes. They do not see the world through rose-colored glasses--they certainly understand that bad things happen and challenges happen--but they power through with an attitude of positivity and calm. I am really drawn to that. It's unusual to see people who embody both optimism and realism simultaneously, particularly when they've had rough lives that would lead most people to being pretty pessimistic (they've both had dozens of surgeries starting as toddlers among other health issues and also just the general problems of being teased, bullied, and underestimated.) I wanted to see how they did it--how exactly they kept smiling in the face of obstacles.

There is no magic formula of course, except that after lifetimes of overcoming everything so far, there's no reason to doubt they'll overcome something else. I did wish for a little more depth in the book, but as it was relatively thin, and is a joint memoir (they alternate chapters), it's inevitable that it wasn't overly deep. The writing is pretty pedestrian, although their voices come through. Even if you didn't notice who was writing the chapter you're reading, if you're familiar with the show, their voices do come through loud and clear (especially Bill's.) It was nice to get so much background. The show is only mentioned in the last two chapters (one each) which makes sense as, if you're a fan or interested in their lives since then, you should just watch the show. No reason to recap what's already on TV. I was interested in how the show came about, and how they held out for an agreement that really strongly understood their positive outlook and committed to portraying that, and not looking for drama, which I appreciate. If you're a fan, you'll like this book.

I checked this book out of the library.

No comments: