"Emery's book is a gift to the world."
Lori Nelson Spielman, New York Times bestselling author of "The Life List"
"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”
"Emery has the piercing insight of someone who's been there."
Chuck Stokes, editorial/public affairs director for WXYZ-TV/Channel 7 Detroit
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From author Sharon Emery -
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.
Sharon Emery has always had a penchant for communicating, but speaking is a struggle because her voice includes a stutter. Sometimes a bad one. So writing, via journalism, became her voice. To succeed she knew she had to be better – a lot better – than her peers. She went after the credentials (a degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University) and the work experience (three part-time journalism jobs as an undergrad, for starters) to help ensure that.
It took some doing, but Emery ultimately forged a career in not only journalism, but public relations and teaching. She still stutters, and now considers it her accent.
Luckily, Emery's stutter taught her a lot about surviving life. And that skill was put to the test when she was faced with the deaths of her two younger siblings and her eldest daughter, Jessica, who had cognitive and neurological impairments and drowned at age 25.
Emery is a former chair of the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition Board and considers equal rights for people with disabilities one of the nation's unfulfilled promises. She and her husband John Schneider, a former newspaper columnist, live in Michigan – on twelve acres near Lansing and on Lake Huron near Cheboygan. This is her first book.
It wasn't always easy being her, but Emery is happy anyway.