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My Dyslexia by Philip Schultz

My Dyslexia (edition 2012)

by Philip Schultz

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424273,462 (3.94)1
Title:My Dyslexia
Authors:Philip Schultz
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (2012), Edition: 1, Paperback, 128 pages
Collections:Read, Favorites
Tags:memoir, non-fiction

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My Dyslexia by Philip Schultz



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Powerful and poetic. The book is a stirring picture of a dyslexic man's journey to overcoming his learning disabilities. ( )
  LaPhenix | Nov 3, 2013 |
I greatly enjoyed this book. My own dyslexia was first suggested when as a college student I had some testing to help me decide what to be when I grew up. Although I didn't really believe it at the time, I was ready to embrace anything that pointed to a problem other than my new found love of drinking. However, years later, once I had decided I wanted to be sober, I noticed for the first time confirmation of what had been hinted at nearly a decade earlier. I have a moderate level of dyslexia along with ADD. I skipped the Hyperactivity so my siblings would have a change to share in the fun. I'm a giver that way. The combination of these two elements explained quite a lot about many of the struggles I had in school. The fear and lack of confidence I achieved as a child are the prizes earned in the elementary school carnival of the 1970's, and later combined with adolescence mixed with bourbon, and I ended my educational career magna cum mediocre. Phillip Schultz’s expression of his own story is one that offers more than just hope, but the hope that comes from freedom. With his freedom Mr. Schultz earned a Pulitzer Prize, and the ability to share both his hope and his freedom. ( )
  lanewillson | Nov 13, 2012 |
Philip Schultz’s story will inspire and encourage anyone whose life has been impacted by dyslexia. Schultz, who did not learn to read until he was eleven, did not discover he was himself dyslexic until he compared his own reading difficulties to those of his young son, a confirmed sufferer of the condition. Today, despite his continuing struggle with language skills, Philip Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet. His remarkable story and insights into dealing with dyslexia can be found in My Dyslexia the memoir in which he recounts his early schooling struggles, how he overcame the condition, and what his life is like today.

Much of what Schultz describes will be heartbreaking to the parents and grandparents of children struggling to keep up with their peers in the classroom. Learning disabilities are difficult to cope with – as parents and grandparents of children who suffer from them, we already know that. What most of us probably fail to understand fully is the emotional pain our children are suffering as they deal with the social stigma of being different from the majority of their friends and classmates. Tragically, as Schultz stresses, these emotional scars are likely to last a lifetime.

Schultz, poet that he is, has a beautiful way with words that allows him to describe in vivid images what he has gone through, how he very suddenly learned to read at age eleven, and how he must compensate for his poor reading skills even today. Consider, for instance, his description of what reading is like for him now:

"As I read, a kind of subtle bartering between uncertainty and hunger for knowledge goes on in my mind, in which I must conquer a feeling of hopelessness and anxiety. I’ve learned to read the way a runner learns to expect and find his second and third winds, the way an athlete pushes himself beyond where it is comfortable to go. I read word by word, sometimes congratulating myself on the completion of a sentence, each paragraph and chapter."

Or this description of what it was like for him in the classroom:

"I understood that I was different from other kids. I lived in a world of differences measured not by appearances, wealth, or even intelligence. The world I lived in involved struggle for control over my thoughts and actions. My differentness felt freakish. My brain wouldn’t obey me, nor my parents or my teachers. If I had trouble learning to read a clock, know my left from my right, hearing instructions – things everyone else seem to do easily – how could I trust my own thoughts or anything about myself?"

The topics addressed by My Dyslexia should help parents and grandparents better understand what their children are experiencing. Among subjects addressed are: why the children often prefer being alone; why they so often attract the attention of bullies; their difficulty with poor self-image; and the disintegration reaction experienced when such a child feels great pressure to explain himself. Books like this one will make it easier for parents, grandparents, and teachers to find the patience and understanding needed to help their children and students cope successfully with a condition that will so critically impact the rest of their lives.

The good news is that there is hope for them – and Philip Schultz proves it.

Rated at: 4.0 ( )
  SamSattler | Aug 8, 2012 |
This is a little gem of a book. I read the whole book in less than two hours but learned so much about the experience of having dyslexia.

Even though Philip Schultz won a Pulitzer Prize for ‘Failure’, a collection of poetry, he did not learn to read until he was eleven years old. He did not even find out that he had dyslexia until he was 58! He learned that he had it when his son was diagnosed with it.

Before reading this, I wondered how a man with dyslexia could become a poet. For me it is a very difficult task to write poetry and I don’t have to deal with dyslexia. But then, I remembered my friend who is a child psychiatrist who is dyslexic. Because of the tremendous amount of reading that she had in medical school, she hired a reader but she made it through because she was very determined and incredibly intelligent. Philip Schultz has those same qualities.

Mr. Schultz related the effect of having dyslexia in school and not knowing that he had it. His mind was his enemy. To escape teasing from his classmates, he stole coins from his father’s vending machine proceeds to eat in a restaurant every school day. He ate the same thing each time even though he hated it. He couldn’t read the menu; he ordered what he overheard being ordered. He thought of himself as being a dummy because he was put in a slow class and that is what other kids called him.

His life was filled with emotional pain and anxiety. His mind was truly his enemy. Then in his sophomore year, he fell in love with books. He still could not read them without a huge struggle but he loved them.

This book tells of the emotional journey that Mr. Schultz struggled through until he found that his brain was different from others. He found out that instead of being a dummy he was intelligent.

Don’t let the size of the book deceive you, he packed a lot of suffering and then finally relief and self-acceptance in it.

I recommend this book to family and friends of anyone with dyslexia and to people with it whose minds are their enemies.

I received this book from GoodReads but that in no way influenced the content of my review. ( )
  Carolee888 | Sep 15, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393079643, Hardcover)

An inspiring memoir of a Pulitzer Prize winner’s triumph over disability.

Despite winning the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2008, Philip Schultz could never shake the feeling of being exiled to the "dummy class" in school, where he was largely ignored by his teachers and peers and not expected to succeed. Not until many years later, when his oldest son was diagnosed with dyslexia, did Schultz realize that he suffered from the same condition.

In his moving memoir, Schultz traces his difficult childhood and his new understanding of his early years. In doing so, he shows how a boy who did not learn to read until he was eleven went on to become a prize-winning poet by sheer force of determination. His balancing act—life as a member of a family with not one but two dyslexics, countered by his intellectual and creative successes as a writer—reveals an inspiring story of the strengths of the human mind.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:02 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet recounts his difficult early years suffering from undiagnosed dyslexia when he was put in the "dummy class" at school and didn't learn to read until age eleven but went on to achieve success as a writer.

(summary from another edition)

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