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The Courage to Compete: Living with Cerebral Palsy and Following My Dreams
     

The Courage to Compete: Living with Cerebral Palsy and Following My Dreams

3.0 1
by Abbey Curran
 

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A remarkable memoir by Miss Iowa USA Abbey Curran about living with cerebral palsy, competing in Miss USA, and her inspiring work with young women who have disabilities.

Abbey Curran was born with cerebral palsy, but early on she resolved to never let it limit her. Abbey made history when she became the first contestant with a disability to win a major beauty

Overview

A remarkable memoir by Miss Iowa USA Abbey Curran about living with cerebral palsy, competing in Miss USA, and her inspiring work with young women who have disabilities.

Abbey Curran was born with cerebral palsy, but early on she resolved to never let it limit her. Abbey made history when she became the first contestant with a disability to win a major beauty pageant. After earning the title of Miss Iowa, she went on to compete in Miss USA.

Growing up on a hog farm in Illinois, Abbey competed in local pageants despite naysayers who told her not to. After realizing her own dream, she went on to help other disabled girls achieve their goals by starting Miss You Can Do It, a national nonprofit pageant for girls and women with special needs and challenges, which became the subject of an HBO documentary with the same name. This is Abbey’s story. 

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“Curran’s story will inspire readers to follow their dreams.”
VOYA, October 2015 (Vol. 38, No. 4) - Cathy Fiebelkorn
As a little girl, Abbey Curran would sit in the audience at the county fair pageant and dream of being onstage herself one day, an idea gently brushed off by family and friends. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at age two, Abbey had always been self-conscious about walking with a limp. She had endured stares and cruel taunts. But the discouraging words of a high school teacher inspired her to enter a pageant for the sake of proving a point. Her memoir traces her steps from the hog farm where she grew up to a series of pageants and pinch-me moments that profoundly changed her life. Crowned Miss Iowa in 2008, Curran went on to compete in the Miss USA pageant, where she made history as its first disabled contestant. Determined to provide similar opportunities for the disabled community, Curran founded the Miss You Can Do It nonprofit pageant for girls with special needs. The conversational writing style helps convey Curran’s down-to-earth personality, but the work could be more polished. The word amazing can only be used so many times before it begins to grate, and at times, Curran’s focus drifts. Additionally, some readers will appreciate the pageant excitement, while others may wonder if Curran places a bit too much importance on looks. Still, her overall message—to try, to dream, to put oneself out there—is an uplifting one that will continue to inspire. The HBO documentary Miss You Can Do It is a worthwhile companion piece for viewing, as it illuminates the far-reaching positive impact of Curran’s work in paying forward her success. Reviewer: Cathy Fiebelkorn; Ages 11 to 18.
School Library Journal
07/01/2015
Gr 7 Up—This uplifting memoir about a young woman living with cerebral palsy who competed in the Miss USA pageant is sure to inspire readers. Abbey was diagnosed at age two. She experienced teasing and bullying from classmates and strangers alike. Well aware of how other people perceived her, Abbey often looked to God for help. Her family was largely supportive, and she felt confident in their love. At 16, Abbey decided to take part in a local beauty competition, the Miss Henry County pageant. Though she was initially anxious, she excelled, finishing in the top 10. With her family's encouragement, she decided to organize her own beauty contest, the Miss You Can Do It Pageant, for girls and women with special needs. Abbey later went on to win Miss Iowa 2008 and to compete in Miss USA. She comes across as positive and hopeful, and her tone is breezy and enthusiastic ("I was just beside myself. I did it! I had made the Top Ten!!! Amazing!!!"). The teenager is honest about her struggles, from wearing leg braces to coping with her parents' divorce. She exudes hope, confidence, determination, and bravery. VERDICT Adolescents will be motivated to pursue their own dreams after reading this stirring title.—Jess Gafkowitz, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
2015-05-18
Curran, Miss Iowa 2008, tells how she became the first major pageant contestant with a disability. Growing up in a close-knit Illinois farm family, Curran always wanted to enter beauty pageants. However, cerebral palsy caused her to limp, which caused teasing that eroded her confidence—but not for long. Curran cheerfully describes growing up with leg braces and doting grandparents as well as tough love, then traces a rambling road to competing in the Miss USA pageant, founding her Miss You Can Do It pageant for girls with disabilities, and entering nursing school. Exciting events pass with little scenery—the pageants themselves, TV appearances, and even an interview by John Hockenberry. Unfortunately, because Curran touches on people and events so quickly, some comments come off as patronizing or glib—as if all discouragement vanished easily, a wheelchair signified "a helpless invalid," or a trailer were shameful. However, these comments fade in a whirl of pageant butterflies, wardrobe malfunctions, and the challenge of walking in heels, which Curran handles with aplomb. Debunking myths about pageant participants, she praises the sisterhood she found and the hope pageants give "[her] girls," a happy ending to a tale of accomplishment. Though Curran's account of faith and perseverance is somewhat unfocused, readers will appreciate her overarching point: "discover what makes you happy, and then act on what you've learned." (Memoir. 11-18)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062363916
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/08/2015
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
883,909
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Abbey Curran, born with cerebral palsy, made history as the first person with a disability to compete in major beauty pageants when she was crowned Miss Iowa USA in 2008, and competed in the Miss USA pageant. While still in high school, she founded the Miss You Can Do It pageant, for young women with disabilities ranging in age from five to twenty-five, designed to illustrate Abbey's core belief that you can do anything if you are willing to try.

The pageant became the subject of an HBO documentary titled Miss You Can Do It, and Abbey has appeared on CBS's The Early Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Access Hollywood, CNN Headline News, and Fox & Friends. Abbey graduated from Saint Ambrose University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in business communications. Always seeking ways to be of help to others, she is currently in nursing school.

Elizabeth Kaye is an award-winning journalist who has written five books on subjects ranging from the Los Angeles Lakers to American Ballet Theatre. Her most recent ebook, Lifeboat No. 8: An Untold Tale of Love, Loss, and Surviving the Titanic, rose to #1 on the Amazon and New York Times ebook bestseller lists.

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The Courage to Compete: Living with Cerebral Palsy and Following My Dreams 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
I wanted to read The Courage to Compete because I admired Abbey's strength and motto to try. I am drawn to books with illness or disability, and although I normally shy away from nonfiction, this one just caught my eye. I think that she is extremely brave, and I love how open and honest she is. About her struggles, about people who bully against her, about her disability, and about finding within herself to not only blaze a path, but look for other ways to help and encourage other's with disabilities or challenges. Bottom Line: Heartfelt look into one young woman's life, facing down her disability and rising above.