It's Hard Being You
A Primer on Being Happy Anyway
"Emery's book is a gift to the world."
Lori Nelson Spielman, New York Times bestselling author of "The Life List"
It's Hard Being You
A Primer on Being Happy Anyway
Surviving your life – making your way through the good and bad – nudges you to make a record of it, to leave signposts for those who come after, especially your children.
That was Sharon Emery's plan in writing It's Hard Being You, A Primer on Being Happy Anyway. She had survived perhaps the most heart-rending tragedy of all: the death of a child. But she also faced the less wrenching challenge of having a disability that was incurable, though not deadly (stuttering). Life is hard, but, so what?
This memoir became Emery's so what. She has recounted her challenges and achievements and given them meaning, found where they fit in her life. It's a process she considers vital to surviving what happens to you – telling the story.
As the title suggests, Emery writes with both hard-eyed realism and compassionate humor. Readers can listen in on what Emery wants her children to know about the losses and the limits that keep happening despite our desperate attempts to avoid them.
Her memoir resides in the everyday struggle to live as best we can, providing insights on how all who struggle – which is to say all of us – can survive well.
There is power in Emery's telling of her story, including the heartbreak of her greatest loss – the death of her daughter Jessica, who lives on in these pages and in the lives of her family. ... I met Ben (her son and front man for the band Lord Huron) through music and, specifically, his song about life as an adventure. It’s not surprising that his mother would share her life experiences to assist others on their own journeys.
– Steve Gleason, former New Orleans Saints football player now living with ALS and advocating for people with the disease via the Team Gleason foundation
From the gut-punch opening line, “I am the mother of a dead child,” through gripping stories about her own disability and the deaths of her beloved siblings, Sharon Emery takes readers though a life’s journey of “wrestling with losses and limits.” Her memoir packs more inspiration than heartbreak, a solace to anybody coping with life or death, which is all of us.
– Ron Fournier, journalist, autism advocate, author of New York Times bestseller “Love that Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips, and My Son Taught Me About a Parent's Expectations”
Sharon Emery writes powerfully about the limits and losses she's faced, but she doesn't stop there. She takes the brave next step of using her experience to chart a road map for her children, which can be used by anyone struggling with adversity. Emery has the piercing insight of someone who's been there.
– Chuck Stokes, editorial/public affairs director for WXYZ-TV/Channel 7 Detroit
Emery's lifelong struggle with stuttering has led her to profound insights about acknowledging, accepting, and ultimately building upon our so-called limitations, to move away from fear and toward happiness, no matter what challenges we face. In this her voice is loud and clear.
– J. Scott Yaruss, PhD, professor of communicative sciences and disorders at Michigan State University, board-certified specialist in the evaluation and treatment of stuttering
It’s Hard Being You is a must-read for anyone who has suffered loss, which as Emery points out, eventually includes all of us. She tells her story with wisdom, insight, and touching anecdotes, creating a memoir that not only enthralls but instructs and inspires. Emery’s book is a gift to the world.
– Lori Nelson Spielman, New York Times bestselling author of "The Life List"
Finally, here is a story about disability told by a person with a disability. Emery doesn't sugarcoat the losses and limits, but also gives us rare insights into real life with disability, including lessons learned, joy and even humor. Her memoir is an eye-opener about the barriers our ableist culture – including our own fumbling interactions with people with disabilities – creates. And how we can all live better.
– Theresa Metzmaker, executive director/CEO, Michigan Disability Rights Coalition, founder of Her Power for teen girls with disabilities
Sharon’s story is searing, poignant, funny, touching. It is a tale told with the bark on, as the saying goes. A story about those two most fundamental elements, life and death. And how life goes on, even after death stops to knock on your door. A resilient story, told by a brave and remarkable woman.
– John Engler, governor of Michigan, 1991-2003
Journalist Sharon Emery dishes up a rich, powerful and beautifully written memoir about parenting a child with special needs, surviving the loss of that child, the complicated deaths of her siblings, and the personal and professional challenges presented by a life-long stutter that helped drive the author’s career success. It’s Hard Being You is an engrossing and unflinching read.
– Judy Winter, author of “Breakthrough Parenting for Children with Special Needs: Raising the Bar of Expectations,” co-founder of the Eric “RicStar” Winter Music Therapy Camp at Michigan State University