The Unlikely Triumph of Steven Sharp
by William Mishler
I picked this book up on a whim at a thrift store one day. It sat on my shelf for several months and almost got shuffled off. I'm glad it didn't, because it was surprisingly good!
A Measure of Endurance tells about Steven Sharp, who lived in a small farming community in Eastern Oregon. As a teenager he lost both his arms in an accident with a hay baler. After the accident he faced living with a hampering disability and constant pain. Yet Steven faced the whole ordeal with a very stoic frame of mind and avoided laying blame on anyone, seeking pity or commiserating his loss. Three years later, his family happened to discover that other farmers across the country had suffered similar accidents with the same equipment. So they sued the manufacturer, a huge corporation. A large part of the book describes the lawsuit, and the complicated preparations Sharp's lawyer made. Usually I don't enjoy reading books that feature a legal trial. By the time I get to the end I find them tiresome, confusing or melodramatic. But this time it was different. It stayed interesting, and Steven was so admirable I wanted to know all details of the outcome for his sake.
I was glad that the terrible accident was not dwelt on or described in detail. The few times it was explained in brief were enough for me. Instead, the book really focuses on the strength of Steven's personality. He grew up with dyslexia, migraines, and a great love of the outdoors. This all affected his outlook on life and how he was able to deal with the trauma of loosing his arms. He is an amazing person, and his story is very inspirational.
Rating: 4/5 ........ 306 pages, 2003
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