Before Jennifer Arnold and Bill Klein were the stars of the reality show The Little Couple they were two little people living their lives. They didn’t even really until they were in their 30s and both already established impressive lives for themselves. This book is advertised as being about their relationship and how they fell in love but really it is mostly about them growing up, the things they went through and all they accomplished.
It’s a very good book. It’s an easy. quick read that should have universal appeal but to me it means the most to people who either themselves have special needs that set them apart from the average population or for those of us with children with special needs.
This is not a pity party. At no point do either of them sound like they are saying “oh poor me look at all I went through” and they did both go through a lot. The type of dwarfism that they both have required a LOT of surgeries and painful recoveries through their entire childhoods to ensure they would be able to walk and move around on their own in adulthood. Their childhoods and adolescents were full of doctors, hospitals, bullies, being treated as “other” on top of all the normal stress and changes that every child and teenager goes through.
In adulthood they both still had to deal with being stared at and hearing comments about their size. At one point someone left a death threat on their car. Their lives are not simple or easy but at no point do they sound bitter or sad or as if they wished things had been different. You never think the phrase “Look how much they accomplished despite their size”. The “despite” isn’t needed. It’s just “look how much they accomplished” and maybe “And look how positive they have remained”.
Reading about Jennifer and Bill’s lives touched me especially since through my pregnancy and since my daughter has been born staying positive has been what I strive to do. I look at my daughters accomplishments, not her delays. Admittedly at 7 months old her accomplishments are not vast…there isn’t much even a typical 7 month old can do….but you get my point. I don’t stay positive or focus on the good because it’s what I should do. I do it because it is what feels natural to me. I’m not going to dwell on my daughters medical issues. It doesn’t help.
I was a member of some online support groups briefly for people with children who have the neurological abnormalities that my daughter has and I couldn’t stay a part of them. There was way to much dwelling on the negative and way to much seeking of pity. While I would never deprive anyone of that if that is what they feel they need to do it is not what I do. I didn’t feel the groups were supportive. I felt they were enabling and just….negative downward spirals of pity and bitterness. The negative for me way out weighed the positive and i do not think like that and anytime I tried to post about my way of thinking I got accused of belittling issues and at one point even called an irresponsible parent.
Don’t get me wrong, there were some great people that were in those groups and I have no ill will toward any of them, including the ones that said negative things about me, but I just did not fit there.
So, reading this book and seeing other people that take their hardships and their differences and push through them and stay positive means a lot to me. Seeing how Jennifer and Bill were raised and how they are raising their children helped me feel even more like I have been doing the right thing following what felt right with my daughter. Having someone that seems to think like I do when it comes to hardships erased any lingering doubts I may have about my parenting. Even though my daughter’s hardships are very different from Bill and Jennifer’s, it also gave me even more hope that my daughter will be able to have a normal life with many accomplishments.
It meant a lot more to me than I could begin to explain.
My own person experience and feelings aside, this book is still a fun read for fans of the The Little Couple, fans of a cute love story or fans of easy, fun to read memoirs. There is no drama and no gossip here. It’s not that kind of book. It’s sweet and it’s positive and it’s worth your time.
Life is short (no pun intended) by Jennifer Arnold and Bill Klein is available on May 26th on Amazon and in book stores.
*I received this book for free through netgelley.com in exchange for an honest review.*