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Double Take: A Memoir

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“Kevin Connolly has used an unusual physical circumstance to create a gripping work of art. This deeply affecting memoir will place him in the company of Jeanette Walls and Augusten Burroughs.” — Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants “Charming … Connolly recounts growing up a scrappy Montana kid—one who happened to be born without legs... [Double Take] makes for an empo “Kevin Connolly has used an unusual physical circumstance to create a gripping work of art. This deeply affecting memoir will place him in the company of Jeanette Walls and Augusten Burroughs.” — Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants “Charming … Connolly recounts growing up a scrappy Montana kid—one who happened to be born without legs... [Double Take] makes for an empowering read.” — People As featured on 20/20, NPR, and in the Washington Post: Kevin Connolly is a young man born without legs who travels the world—by skateboard, with his camera—on his “Rolling Exhibition,” snapping pictures of peoples’ reactions to him… and finds out along the way what it truly means to be human.


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“Kevin Connolly has used an unusual physical circumstance to create a gripping work of art. This deeply affecting memoir will place him in the company of Jeanette Walls and Augusten Burroughs.” — Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants “Charming … Connolly recounts growing up a scrappy Montana kid—one who happened to be born without legs... [Double Take] makes for an empo “Kevin Connolly has used an unusual physical circumstance to create a gripping work of art. This deeply affecting memoir will place him in the company of Jeanette Walls and Augusten Burroughs.” — Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants “Charming … Connolly recounts growing up a scrappy Montana kid—one who happened to be born without legs... [Double Take] makes for an empowering read.” — People As featured on 20/20, NPR, and in the Washington Post: Kevin Connolly is a young man born without legs who travels the world—by skateboard, with his camera—on his “Rolling Exhibition,” snapping pictures of peoples’ reactions to him… and finds out along the way what it truly means to be human.

30 review for Double Take: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    There’s more to Connolly’s story than the fact that he was born without legs, which makes this memoir an interesting read, but as the author is only in his early 20s, it’s a quick read, too. We see him raised by parents who treat his disability as matter-of-factly as they can, and he has a fairly normal small-town childhood. He eschews wheelchairs and prosthetics for a skateboard he propels with his hands — it’s just easier for him to get around that way. In trying to find a sport that he can com There’s more to Connolly’s story than the fact that he was born without legs, which makes this memoir an interesting read, but as the author is only in his early 20s, it’s a quick read, too. We see him raised by parents who treat his disability as matter-of-factly as they can, and he has a fairly normal small-town childhood. He eschews wheelchairs and prosthetics for a skateboard he propels with his hands — it’s just easier for him to get around that way. In trying to find a sport that he can compete in (wrestling turned out to be a disaster), he finds his way into skiing, and eventually competes in the X Games. But the most interesting part of the book details his travels abroad, where he explores his independence and must deal with others’ reactions to his physical state. When well-meaning people in Ukraine and Germany give him alms, Connolly is so nonplussed that he can’t even attempt to decline. The stares he encounters, scooting along at ground level, form the idea for his photography project. He begins the project as a catharsis to capture the “combination of curiosity, worry, and shock” that’s everyone’s initial look at him, and ends up with tens of thousands of snapshots. The writing is lively and the book is a window into a life worth reading about. However, Connolly seems to lack the wisdom and reflectiveness that would give depth to many of his experiences, meaning that some parts feel glossed over and others feel incomplete (he’s so young, they are incomplete). It would be interesting to see a follow-up in 10 or 20 years to find out what he’s been up to in the meantime.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Koren

    When I first started this book I wasn't sure what all the pictures were about. I try not to read the synopsis on the front inside or back of the book because too often they contain spoilers. So I kept seeing these pictures of people in foreign countries that obviously weren't the authors family. I finally had to look and then it all made sense. The book starts off good. The author is born perfectly normal, except for one thing...he doesnt have any legs. But he went on to have a fairly normal chi When I first started this book I wasn't sure what all the pictures were about. I try not to read the synopsis on the front inside or back of the book because too often they contain spoilers. So I kept seeing these pictures of people in foreign countries that obviously weren't the authors family. I finally had to look and then it all made sense. The book starts off good. The author is born perfectly normal, except for one thing...he doesnt have any legs. But he went on to have a fairly normal childhood. He doesn't like artificial legs or wheelchairs and finds it easier to get around on his hands. He seems to get in fights occasionally with kids that tease him and I find it hard to believe that even a kid would tease someone about not having legs, but who knows. Nothing seems to hold him back from life and he leads a fairly normal life. As a college student he was able to travel to several countries and found it was easier to get around on a skateboard. He decided to take pictures of the people he caught staring at him. This is where he kind of lost me. A guy with no legs going all over on a skateboard and he is offended by people staring at him. And in one country he even got offended by a guy that came right up to him and asked him what happened to him. So I was kind of confused exactly how he wants people to react to him. But he never really tells us. He is upset when people stare and upset when people try not to stare. I think people are uncomfortable with people with disabilities because they dont know how their reactions are going to come across. Hence, the 3 star rating, but could have been 4 or 5 stars if he had told more about the pictures and the people's reactions, maybe interview some of the people, and less about his being butt hurt about how people look at him in public.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Even though I felt that a large portion of this small book was disjointed somehow, I still liked it. A lot of what I read in Mr. Connolly's story reinforced the idea that people can "go for broke" and create a positive out of a bad situation. The biggest lesson that I learned from Connolly's story, though, is that he's a much better person than I am. Even just reading about stranger's initial reactions to him had me clicking my tongue and shaking my head, while I was secretly acknowledging the fa Even though I felt that a large portion of this small book was disjointed somehow, I still liked it. A lot of what I read in Mr. Connolly's story reinforced the idea that people can "go for broke" and create a positive out of a bad situation. The biggest lesson that I learned from Connolly's story, though, is that he's a much better person than I am. Even just reading about stranger's initial reactions to him had me clicking my tongue and shaking my head, while I was secretly acknowledging the fact that I probably would have reacted the same way. It took a bit of personal endurance, a bit of familial strength and a good heaping of a "who gives a rat's ass?" attitude for him to travel the world alone. But it was more than that, I think. There's a spirit there, that was implanted and cultivated from his childhood, and I think it's that spirit that pushed him out the door when he was in danger of succumbing to despair. The pictures he shared were awesome, but they didn't really mesh for me. I can't quite put my finger on it, but whatever it was bothered me. It wasn't the subject of the shots, or the fact that they were included at all...I just don't know. I do, however, feel like the pictures could have been left out and it wouldn't have made that big of an impact on my reading experience. Kevin Michael Connolly had to learn to grow and be a bigger person much faster than most of us, and yet he still had the capacity to feel pity and sadness for those around him. He's much more insightful and honest than I was at his age, which intrigues me. I'm sure his family (especially his parents) should be taking a lot of the credit, but he only really touches on their impact on his life fleetingly. It's a good memoir for someone so young, but a bit lacking in the accolades to those around him. As his mother said, This isn't just your show. But damn if he didn't make it seem that way.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    I picked up this book after learning that the University of Florida is using it as a common read for this year's incoming freshmen. I think it's an excellent choice for multiple reasons including the fact that it's a thought-provoking and inspirational story about a young guy dealing with unusual challenges in very unusual ways. And the students will probably like that it's a quick read. Kevin Connolly was born without legs to a family that expected him to be independent. He rejected prostheses a I picked up this book after learning that the University of Florida is using it as a common read for this year's incoming freshmen. I think it's an excellent choice for multiple reasons including the fact that it's a thought-provoking and inspirational story about a young guy dealing with unusual challenges in very unusual ways. And the students will probably like that it's a quick read. Kevin Connolly was born without legs to a family that expected him to be independent. He rejected prostheses and wheelchairs, preferring to use his hands to crawl or skateboard or ski. He excelled at adaptive skiing with a mono ski and won a silver medal at the x games in 2006. The prize money financed an international photography trip during which he took thousands of photos of people staring at him and turned them into an art exhibition. Some of the photos illustrate this book. Reading this book might make you think about disabilities differently--all of us have some things we cannot do---and about the assumptions you make when you see someone whose physical disabilities are obvious. I enjoyed reading the details of the adaptations Connolly's parents engineered through trial and error as well as Connolly's description of navigating the streets of Kiev. Ultimately it is not a satisfying read for an adult reader because it doesn't go deep enough and as a narrative, it isn't long enough. He was just 23 when this was written and I would love to read his perspective at the age of 40 or 50.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    I liked this book and I'm glad I read it. However, somehow I was expecting more. I appreciated his stories of growing up and overcoming the many difficulties of not having legs. I appreciated his drive to excel and his honesty, even about how he felt about his big photo project. I'm not sure what his main message was regarding these photos though. It seemed that he wanted to show that universally people will stare at someone without legs. But is that really a big surprise? He even found himself I liked this book and I'm glad I read it. However, somehow I was expecting more. I appreciated his stories of growing up and overcoming the many difficulties of not having legs. I appreciated his drive to excel and his honesty, even about how he felt about his big photo project. I'm not sure what his main message was regarding these photos though. It seemed that he wanted to show that universally people will stare at someone without legs. But is that really a big surprise? He even found himself doing it to someone else that was missing limbs. It was interesting to see these photos but I'm not sure what it really signifies. What I did get out of the book though was a feeling of gratitude for having legs (not something one thinks about daily.) I also really admired his parent's casual attitude towards him travelling alone around the world using a skateboard to get by and spending his last bit of money. Now if my kids decide to travel the world with very little money, I will remember the inspiring story of Kevin Michael Connolly and hopefully be as supportive as his parents were.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    His continuously negative outlook on other people and their intentions makes reading this book exhausting. Every chapter or so I felt like I, as a person who might happen to look at or glance at someone who is missing two legs who is riding on a skateboard down a street, am a bad person who can feel only one emotion: pity. I don't buy that. As far as the rest of the book goes, I think it would have been a very strong choice to include a ghost writer. The writing fluctuates between repeating the o His continuously negative outlook on other people and their intentions makes reading this book exhausting. Every chapter or so I felt like I, as a person who might happen to look at or glance at someone who is missing two legs who is riding on a skateboard down a street, am a bad person who can feel only one emotion: pity. I don't buy that. As far as the rest of the book goes, I think it would have been a very strong choice to include a ghost writer. The writing fluctuates between repeating the obvious (that he doesn't have legs and he doesn't want people feeling sorry for him...maybe he doesn't want people looking at him either?) to distancing himself from the readers but underplaying crucial moments (X Games and traveling the world seem non-chalant). On a personal note, after trying to meet he writer in person at my college, turns out he's pretty much as negative in real life as he is in this book. Would not read again, learned nothing new about life or love or obstacles, it's a book full of reasons to feel with someone who is constantly saying "STOP FEELING EMOTIONS AT ME".

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cody

    Great story of overcoming one's self and their world. I will say that Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants) has obviously never read Augusten Burroughs' books since she used that as a comparison in her review. The only thing that they have in common is both being memoirs. Great story of overcoming one's self and their world. I will say that Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants) has obviously never read Augusten Burroughs' books since she used that as a comparison in her review. The only thing that they have in common is both being memoirs.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mai

    3.5 stars I enjoyed reading about Kevin's upbringing, particularly how his parents did their best to prepare him for navigating the world on his own, never babying him because of his condition. And I was impressed with his sense of adventure, doing so much travelling at a young age and all on his own. While his story is inspiring, you can tell that it's written by a young person who has learned and experienced a lot in his life but still has a ways to go to grow and change. I'm glad I finished it 3.5 stars I enjoyed reading about Kevin's upbringing, particularly how his parents did their best to prepare him for navigating the world on his own, never babying him because of his condition. And I was impressed with his sense of adventure, doing so much travelling at a young age and all on his own. While his story is inspiring, you can tell that it's written by a young person who has learned and experienced a lot in his life but still has a ways to go to grow and change. I'm glad I finished it (especially as it had been sitting on my shelf for probably a decade), but I don't think I'd recommend it or read it again.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kathy (Bermudaonion)

    Born without legs to blue collar parents, Kevin Connolly grew up tough. He never let his disability stop him and has found success in several areas. He prefers a skateboard to prosthetic legs or a wheelchair and most people do a “double take” when they see him. He can usually shake it off but it bothers him at times. When someone started taking pictures of him, he decided to turn the tables and take pictures from his perspective. While I admire his tenacity and spunk, I thought Connolly’s memoir Born without legs to blue collar parents, Kevin Connolly grew up tough. He never let his disability stop him and has found success in several areas. He prefers a skateboard to prosthetic legs or a wheelchair and most people do a “double take” when they see him. He can usually shake it off but it bothers him at times. When someone started taking pictures of him, he decided to turn the tables and take pictures from his perspective. While I admire his tenacity and spunk, I thought Connolly’s memoir lacked focus. The writing was uneven and his story didn’t flow smoothly. This book was just okay for me.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Interesting memoir about a kid born without legs to the right parents. Raised pragmatically just like any other kid, in a compassionate, solution-based way — just like one would hope every kid could be raised. Realized surreptitious photos of the looks he got traveling all over the world would make a good art project, he just ... did it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Azeem Foy

    Getting into reading and was able to fall in love with this book quickly. I love to travel and take photos so this was up my alley. Would like to meet Kevin in person and go take photos and hope to find a project he decided to follow. Give it a read you won't regret it. Getting into reading and was able to fall in love with this book quickly. I love to travel and take photos so this was up my alley. Would like to meet Kevin in person and go take photos and hope to find a project he decided to follow. Give it a read you won't regret it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Donovan Blount

    Legless man rides a skateboard around the world and takes pictures of people’s facial expressions when they see him.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Bigham

    Gifted to me by a student who attended a presentation by the author. Highlights embracing life and your differences.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Allison Renner

    The cover drew me in during a bookstore excursion, and when I flipped through I was delighted to see a lot of photography interspersed. Kevin (because we're close like that) was born without legs. It's not a disease or the result of anything his mother did or didn't do - it just happened. But his book isn't about that. Well, ok, to an extent it is, because you can't just gloss over something like that. But I guess because he was born that way, he didn't have much adjusting to do. It was simply h The cover drew me in during a bookstore excursion, and when I flipped through I was delighted to see a lot of photography interspersed. Kevin (because we're close like that) was born without legs. It's not a disease or the result of anything his mother did or didn't do - it just happened. But his book isn't about that. Well, ok, to an extent it is, because you can't just gloss over something like that. But I guess because he was born that way, he didn't have much adjusting to do. It was simply how he always lived. As a kid, he played like everyone else – running around getting dirty, getting into trouble - but he walked with his hands. He addresses some of the problems with bullies, trying to ask girls out, typical school stuff. On the other hand, he talks about being fitted for prosthetic legs that made him look "normal" but didn't help him walk, how his mom hemmed special pants for him, and how exciting it was to finally buy a pair of shoes. When these topics came up, I had to pause for a second and remember why they were noteworthy; it was easy to forget he doesn't have legs. Every other line wasn't a "pity me!" statement - in fact, it was the opposite. Kevin became a skier and competed in the X Games. With the money he won for finishing 2nd place, he bought a camera and traveled to foreign countries on a skateboard. From this unique angle, he captured the stares he'd been getting all his life. The results are some great stories, interesting introspection, and a set of amazing photographs. It made me think of Adam Shepard's Scratch Beginnings, even though I feel like the two shouldn't really be compared. The only similarities are that they're written by two young men (it makes me proud to be in their age bracket) who are trying to make a difference in some small way. Adam (because WE'RE close like that...) wanted to prove that the American Dream was still alive - and wrote a really inspiring book about it. Kevin addresses a lot of the things strangers thought about him regarding why he was legless and what he was capable of. In a different way, I also found his story inspiring: it made me think about assumptions, personal goals, proving people wrong, etc.

  15. 5 out of 5

    A.J.

    This book was a fairly quick read. The chapters are concise and reader friendly. The photographs from the author’s photo project definitely set the tone for the book, and are a creative thread holding the narrative together. I read this book to add to my repertoire of disability memoirs, though at a point in the book Connolly points out that he does not identify himself as disabled, which was an insightful commentary in his range of experiences. I had a few issues with some of the way the narrat This book was a fairly quick read. The chapters are concise and reader friendly. The photographs from the author’s photo project definitely set the tone for the book, and are a creative thread holding the narrative together. I read this book to add to my repertoire of disability memoirs, though at a point in the book Connolly points out that he does not identify himself as disabled, which was an insightful commentary in his range of experiences. I had a few issues with some of the way the narration went, but those are the same issues I have with a lot of memoirs, so I’ll leave that to me being nit-picky with the genre and move on. His photo project (in which he travels to different countries and photographed people staring at him) takes central focus and I found the most interesting part to be when he had doubts and regrets about the project, even considering not finishing it. His experiences of how people from other cultures and social histories react to his legless-ness was at times jarring, but I think a necessary point to make. For example, the fact that in America, traveling by skateboard is independent and individualistic, was seen as undignified in other countries. Connolly also comments on the need of people to apply a social/emotional context to his physical state, from war to disease to accident -- merely stating “I was born without them” wasn’t good enough in some cases. Overall, I enjoyed this book. At times the narrative may have felt cut short, but the perspective Connolly brings to the reader can be applied to many personal experiences and areas of study.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Gemmill

    I was somewhat disappointed in this book. Connolly is a decent enough writer (the recounting of his skiing adventures were especially entertaining - if somewhat painful!) but I found myself a little put off by his attitude. A common theme (and the impetus for the book in the first place) was his annoyance at how people would look at him and the different reactions they would have. I don't mean to be cold, but let's face it - a legless man zipping around on a skateboard should expect to see shock I was somewhat disappointed in this book. Connolly is a decent enough writer (the recounting of his skiing adventures were especially entertaining - if somewhat painful!) but I found myself a little put off by his attitude. A common theme (and the impetus for the book in the first place) was his annoyance at how people would look at him and the different reactions they would have. I don't mean to be cold, but let's face it - a legless man zipping around on a skateboard should expect to see shock, pity, surprise, whatever on people's faces. For example, in one instance, a Russian (or some Eastern European - don't quite remember) man saw him and insisted on giving him money, thinking he was a beggar. Connelly found this highly insulting and was angry about it. But Connolly didn't stop to think that this man was acting based on his own experiences and culture; in that culture, Connolly would be a beggar. The man wasn't deliberately slighting Connolly, but that's how he took it. It seemed he was so focused on his own feelings that he didn't stop to consider what informed another person's reaction/actions. I much more enjoyed the episodes in which his parents made an appearance - his father in particular seemed like a real character, and I admired how his mother prepared him for going to school. I read the book, and shared it with a friend at work, but ultimately, it's not a keeper. It's in my bag of books to bring to the used book store. Sorry, Kevin, but your Double Take was a one-time read for me.

  17. 5 out of 5

    David

    A memoir by a 23-year old would not normally sound promising, but this one is highly engaging. Author was born without legs and describes how that affected dating, finding an outlet for his interest in competitive sports (frustrating to have to just watch h.s. football; didn't take to wrestling; found his niche in skiing so well that he earned lots of money via the X games, has sponsors, etc.), being mobile enough to keep up with girlfriend and family in getting around (rides a "longboard" on hi A memoir by a 23-year old would not normally sound promising, but this one is highly engaging. Author was born without legs and describes how that affected dating, finding an outlet for his interest in competitive sports (frustrating to have to just watch h.s. football; didn't take to wrestling; found his niche in skiing so well that he earned lots of money via the X games, has sponsors, etc.), being mobile enough to keep up with girlfriend and family in getting around (rides a "longboard" on his hands), etc. The main theme, though, is his learning to accept others' reactions to him. The stares, the question ("what happened to you?"), the pity, and the unwanted attention bother him tremendously. He turns this issue into an art project by travelling internationally on his X Games winnings and taking pictures (one is reprinted here at the start of each chapter) of people staring at him. Develops some empathy for others by noticing his own automatic desire to take a second look at a guy he encounters in Europe who had lost an arm and a leg in combat. Very well-written. Hard to put my finger on just what I liked so much about it, as the nutshell version is pretty much what you would expect given his condition (people react to the sight of him; it gets tiresome for him). I guess it's just that he comes across as very curious about life, his family, people in general and brings you along for the ride.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kdevoli

    This was strangely fascinating. The author was born without legs in a small town in Montana to parents who really encouraged him to be independent. Over the years, he tried both artificial legs and a wheelchair, but found both methods of transport confining, and ultimately crafted himself a little skateboard that he whizzed around on very expeditiously. Since he never had legs, he didn't really feel badly about his condition, and there was very little he couldn't do, including skiing in the X ga This was strangely fascinating. The author was born without legs in a small town in Montana to parents who really encouraged him to be independent. Over the years, he tried both artificial legs and a wheelchair, but found both methods of transport confining, and ultimately crafted himself a little skateboard that he whizzed around on very expeditiously. Since he never had legs, he didn't really feel badly about his condition, and there was very little he couldn't do, including skiing in the X games. But he noticed that when he travelled during his college years that people looked down on him on his skateboard with a mixture of revusion, pity and sadness that he did not experience when he was in a wheelchair. One day he had his camera with him down on his skateboard, and with his head turned, surreptitiously snapped photos of people he knew were staring down at him. Wondering what reaction he would get from different cultures around the world, he used his X games prize money to finance a world wide adventure where he snapped 33,000 pictures of people staring at him when they didn't realize he had a camera. It's hard to imagine being stared at with real pity and horror by 33,000 people. He once had a New York City traffic cop look down at him and gasp, "What the f -- happened to you??!!" I really give the young author props for his bravery and insistence on living his life on his own terms.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Cline

    Double Take, A Memoir by Kevin Michael Connolly (pp 227). This memoir is largely built around a photography project best described by the author: “This photography has allowed me to use my leglessness as a way to create an art project that otherwise would have been impossible to create.” The genesis of the photography was an attempt to capture photos of the almost inevitable downward-looking stares Connolly endured while moving about the world. The author’s reaction to being the object of pity, Double Take, A Memoir by Kevin Michael Connolly (pp 227). This memoir is largely built around a photography project best described by the author: “This photography has allowed me to use my leglessness as a way to create an art project that otherwise would have been impossible to create.” The genesis of the photography was an attempt to capture photos of the almost inevitable downward-looking stares Connolly endured while moving about the world. The author’s reaction to being the object of pity, curiosity, and confusion ranged from understanding to annoyance to anger. Not until he found himself in Sarajevo staring at a man with missing limbs from war, finding himself silently asking “what the happened to him?” did he second guess his motivations for his project. This memoir has no neat wrap up, concluding epiphany, or insight into the human condition. Rather, it tells the story of a person born without legs and his experiences dealing with virtually everyone around him (except family) who considered him handicapped. Importantly, it is not what some people call inspiration porn, i.e. an inspirational story based on a person’s disability. It is about family, competition, love, travel, and growing up: the stuff of life. In fact, it’s not overtly inspiring, so don’t read it if you want to get a golden glow of goodness. Spoiler alert: in the end he does NOT get the girl. Again, the stuff of life.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cydnie

    I don't remember where I heard this book mentioned, but it looked interesting. Kevin Connolly is a 23 year old from Montana who happened to be born without legs. The book is a combination of two basic story ideas: living as normal of a life as possible, and the chronicles of a journey around the world to photograph people's reactions to him. I liked the way the book was put together. Each chapter had a photo at the beginning that came from his collection, then the chapter was like a written snaps I don't remember where I heard this book mentioned, but it looked interesting. Kevin Connolly is a 23 year old from Montana who happened to be born without legs. The book is a combination of two basic story ideas: living as normal of a life as possible, and the chronicles of a journey around the world to photograph people's reactions to him. I liked the way the book was put together. Each chapter had a photo at the beginning that came from his collection, then the chapter was like a written snapshot from a period of his life. I don't know if he did it that way on purpose, but it seemed very appropriate considering the photo journey that prompted the book as well as his young age. I couldn't help but be impressed with the author and his attitude about life. He is very honest in describing his experiences and the feelings that he has had. The two quotes that I found the most intriguing were [sorry, I can't find the exact wording:] when he said that he wondered how he would react if he had a disabled child, and, "...I don't think of myself as 'disabled'. As I interpret the word, you are only disabled if you are incapable of overcoming the challenges presented in any given situation." The quote continues, basically saying that if in a given situation you choose to 'sit on the sidelines' then you are unable to do that particular thing - and thus, disabled.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Matt Miltenberg

    Really a great memoir. Picked this up while watching X-games hoping for a book to meet my insatiable skiing needs...but found much, much more. The book most closely chronicles Connolly's mission to create a photo project capturing the stares he's been given all his life for being born without legs. Along the way, the insights we get into his experiences, both the sameness and the differences, are very open, reflective, poignant and emotional- without being self-indulgent. Connolly didn't set out Really a great memoir. Picked this up while watching X-games hoping for a book to meet my insatiable skiing needs...but found much, much more. The book most closely chronicles Connolly's mission to create a photo project capturing the stares he's been given all his life for being born without legs. Along the way, the insights we get into his experiences, both the sameness and the differences, are very open, reflective, poignant and emotional- without being self-indulgent. Connolly didn't set out to write a memoir that would be a hero's victory march but rather stayed true to his experiences, some uplifting and some heart wrenching but all real. I may be wrong but as far as I can tell, there was not a ghost writer and Connolly's writing was also great - keeping great flow, smoothness and vividness while still being able to drop the F-bomb and maintain his true voice - a task I imagine to be quite difficult for a 24 year old writer who just finished the x-games! Great guy - would love to get on a chair lift or bar stool and bs.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ginny

    This was a fast read and an inspirational one! I found his comments about perception really interesting. And my favorite quotable was the last 2 pages, this in particular: "And I have come to understand why people make up stories and ask questions about what happened to my legs. I'm guilty of doing the same thing to others who interest me. It's a natural human imperative to create stories: things can't just be. If someone gets lung cancer, we want to know whether he smoked. If someone has a hear This was a fast read and an inspirational one! I found his comments about perception really interesting. And my favorite quotable was the last 2 pages, this in particular: "And I have come to understand why people make up stories and ask questions about what happened to my legs. I'm guilty of doing the same thing to others who interest me. It's a natural human imperative to create stories: things can't just be. If someone gets lung cancer, we want to know whether he smoked. If someone has a heart attack, we want to know if she ate unhealthily. But less often do we want to know about people's country or culture or family that constructs the real narrative behind who they are." His comments really got me thinking about how we do make up stories about what we see and experience, all the time -- that's point of view. And that's okay as long as we remember that's what they are -- stories we tell ourselves to fill in the gaps while we learn more.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I was fortunate enough to see the author, Kevin Michael Connolly, at the National Inclusion Project Champions for Change Gala in December 2011. At the time, he charmed me with his wit and humor. Therefore, I HAD to read his memoir, and it did not disappoint! Mr. Connolly was born without legs, and yet, had as normal of a childhood as he could. His parents had much to do with this; they had a very no-nonsense way about them, as people who live in Montana are wont to do. The book discusses this ch I was fortunate enough to see the author, Kevin Michael Connolly, at the National Inclusion Project Champions for Change Gala in December 2011. At the time, he charmed me with his wit and humor. Therefore, I HAD to read his memoir, and it did not disappoint! Mr. Connolly was born without legs, and yet, had as normal of a childhood as he could. His parents had much to do with this; they had a very no-nonsense way about them, as people who live in Montana are wont to do. The book discusses this childhood, and how he found a sport he loved doing (skiing -- and he also talks about more than a few of his nasty spills!). Then, he takes on a journey around the world, just he and his trusty skateboard. Along the way, he starts a photographic project that chronicles his travels through the people who look at him. Mr. Connolly writes with good humor, but also true emotion. I was enthralled.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Johanna

    It's good to be able to see the world from a different perspective (literally in this case), through someone else's experiences. I wonder sometimes what it's like to be physically different from the average person on the street, but in the end everyone's got such a drastically different life no matter how they're born that I end up interested in everyone's story, because everyone's got something interesting happening or that has happened in their lives to tell about. Even if Kevin had been born It's good to be able to see the world from a different perspective (literally in this case), through someone else's experiences. I wonder sometimes what it's like to be physically different from the average person on the street, but in the end everyone's got such a drastically different life no matter how they're born that I end up interested in everyone's story, because everyone's got something interesting happening or that has happened in their lives to tell about. Even if Kevin had been born typical, it'd be fun to hear about how he's traveled the world with only a backpack and a skateboard. So I enjoyed his memoir, though I feel like it's incomplete since he's only 30 - does he reconnect with his girl? Does he get married? Does he go to more countries? Not sure I'll ever find out! Being from Bozeman myself, it was fun to read about familiar places also, and wonder how we just barely missed bumping into each other (small town)!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Perry

    My friend Alyse suggested this book to me. It was an enjoyable memoir and very quick. I remember seeing this guy on TV a few years ago. His Rolling Exhibition was probably touring at the time and I think CBS Sunday Morning did a story on him. I remember watching it and seeing some of his photos. The stares from the people and how he went about snapping those photos were unlike anything I had seen before and it stuck with me. I didn't know his name until I got a hold of this book. I was then able My friend Alyse suggested this book to me. It was an enjoyable memoir and very quick. I remember seeing this guy on TV a few years ago. His Rolling Exhibition was probably touring at the time and I think CBS Sunday Morning did a story on him. I remember watching it and seeing some of his photos. The stares from the people and how he went about snapping those photos were unlike anything I had seen before and it stuck with me. I didn't know his name until I got a hold of this book. I was then able to match the name with the unique pictures. Really cool stuff! The picture on page 121 is my favorite. The one with the marching Prague soldiers. Kevin has led a fascinating life thus far. Being born without legs and then being able to overcome it with the lens was pretty astounding. I'm glad he was able to share his story with us. I really want to see his Exhibition sometime too.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    I enjoyed Connolly's memoir immensely. Connolly definitely kept my attention and managed to detail his birth deformity and the ensuing heartaches and triumphs in a very positive and informative way. Connolly traveled around the world alone despite the fact that he has no legs. His mode of transport is a skateboard, and a mission along the way was to capture as many people's reaction to the sight of him as possible on camera. He captured hundreds of photos of people's expressions when they are fi I enjoyed Connolly's memoir immensely. Connolly definitely kept my attention and managed to detail his birth deformity and the ensuing heartaches and triumphs in a very positive and informative way. Connolly traveled around the world alone despite the fact that he has no legs. His mode of transport is a skateboard, and a mission along the way was to capture as many people's reaction to the sight of him as possible on camera. He captured hundreds of photos of people's expressions when they are first registering his condition, and the response varies greatly. His story was inspiring and heart touching, and the telling of it was excellent in my opinion. Connolly is actually only in his 20s, as of the writing of this book, and if he chronicles any more of his story I would definitely read it. Some have stated that he is too young to have written a memoir, but in my opinion when you have a story to tell, age is unimportant. His story was worth telling, and worth reading.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    A quick read. The author, born without legs, details his (short) life experience of 22 years. How his parents handled it, family, peers, and strangers. It's woven together somewhat disjointedly, but in a way that somehow makes sense. I really enjoyed getting inside his head to know his perspective on how he would like to be seen. I have considered this before and it was enlightening, although I'm sure not everyone in a similar position has his same perspective. It's really about his desire to be A quick read. The author, born without legs, details his (short) life experience of 22 years. How his parents handled it, family, peers, and strangers. It's woven together somewhat disjointedly, but in a way that somehow makes sense. I really enjoyed getting inside his head to know his perspective on how he would like to be seen. I have considered this before and it was enlightening, although I'm sure not everyone in a similar position has his same perspective. It's really about his desire to be seen as "normal" but that is fairly impossible achieve with strangers. Whether its with pity, curiosity, shock, or concern - those seem to be the only plausible reactions from the public. I felt like it detailed a lot of his young life as a struggle to keep up, fit in, accomplish something. And these striving are in us all. Many of his struggles and feelings I know others will relate to through though in different ways.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Silvia

    I enjoyed reading Double Take. It was an easy-read. It's a memoir of a 23 year old man who was born without legs. Each chapter tells stories of different times of his life starting with his birth to current time. In these chapters, he shares his experiences of being a legless guy. He expresses his inner thoughts and feelings when people stare at him. He takes on a journey to see the world by traveling to several countries and in the midst of it he decides to take photos of people as a way of cop I enjoyed reading Double Take. It was an easy-read. It's a memoir of a 23 year old man who was born without legs. Each chapter tells stories of different times of his life starting with his birth to current time. In these chapters, he shares his experiences of being a legless guy. He expresses his inner thoughts and feelings when people stare at him. He takes on a journey to see the world by traveling to several countries and in the midst of it he decides to take photos of people as a way of coping, which I believe it gives the meaning to the book title. I enjoyed reading about his loving and funny family (especially his parents) and other influential individuals around him. There were parts that made my heart sting and feel warm inside. It was inspirational and made me realize once again that life is what you make of it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    This book was so uplifting and nice to read. After reading about all those Hoaxers in the non-fiction genre, it was nice to read something that I KNOW was true. I mean, it's hard to fake the fact that you have no legs. The author seems to know that writing a memoir in his young 20's is a little presuming and self-centered. But he does a great job of laying out his life, his trials growing up and his view and theory on the world so far. He doesn't make any big claims on life and how people should This book was so uplifting and nice to read. After reading about all those Hoaxers in the non-fiction genre, it was nice to read something that I KNOW was true. I mean, it's hard to fake the fact that you have no legs. The author seems to know that writing a memoir in his young 20's is a little presuming and self-centered. But he does a great job of laying out his life, his trials growing up and his view and theory on the world so far. He doesn't make any big claims on life and how people should live, he just tells things from his point of view: A view just over 3 feet off the ground. And the pictures he takes are awesome. The looks on people's faces are amazing. You can see everything in the revulsion, shock, amazement and awe of those sidewards glances. Even if you don't read the book, just pick it up at the library to look at the pictures on the inside cover. You will love it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Christie

    This book is a memoir about Kevin Connolly, a young MSU grad, Helena, MT native, and X-Games mono-ski competitor. Kevin was born with no legs and shares his unique perspective on life and people's impressions of him in this book. Included are photo's from The Rolling Exhibition. At first glance, one would assume that Kevin's life is much different than theirs. However, I enjoyed this book because I came to realize that in many ways Kevin's life and hobbies aren't really that much different than This book is a memoir about Kevin Connolly, a young MSU grad, Helena, MT native, and X-Games mono-ski competitor. Kevin was born with no legs and shares his unique perspective on life and people's impressions of him in this book. Included are photo's from The Rolling Exhibition. At first glance, one would assume that Kevin's life is much different than theirs. However, I enjoyed this book because I came to realize that in many ways Kevin's life and hobbies aren't really that much different than mine and those of my Montana-living, travel-loving, outdoorsy friends. And I think that point was one that Kevin hoped to convey in this this book. Very quick read. Would recommend to anyone interested in sociology, photography, stories about skiing, and Montana-based authors. Note: this is the One Book, One Bozeman 2010 selection.

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