Synopses & Reviews
Born with cerebral palsy, Geri Jewell inspired a generation of young people when she became the first person with a disability to appear in a recurring role on prime-time television, with her groundbreaking character, Cousin Geri, on the NBC sitcom The Facts of Life. The books title Im Walking As Straight As I Can has a double meaning, referring to both Jewells sexuality and her extraordinary struggle growing up with cerebral palsy. This candid memoir details her experiences from her traumatic birth in Buffalo, New York, to her rise to stardom as a stand-up comic to becoming a television star. She documents the harsh realities of show business by recounting the relentless discrimination and abuse she suffered at the hands of people she trusted. Her experiences in the shark-infested waters of Hollywood led her on a journey from the Comedy Store to the White House, followed by a downward spiral, tax problems, drug addiction, marriage, and an accident that nearly claimed her life. When Deadwood creator David Milch recognized Jewell at a pharmacy, he offered her a role in his new HBO series on the spot, and she began to find hope and happiness once again. Im Walking As Straight As I Can is an inspiring story, told with grace and self-deprecating humor, one that gives readers a rare glimpse of true courage and perseverance.
Exposing real pain, unstoppable perseverance, and unquestionable faith in the human spirit, this autobiography offers a true glimpse beyond the one-dimensional, hero image often associated with actress Geri Jewell. Born with cerebral palsy, Jewell made history when she became the first person with a disability cast in a recurring role on American television in The Facts of Life, and in the years that followed she experienced a string of other successes, including a performance at the White House in 1985 and a role on HBO's Deadwood series. Along with Jewells accomplishments, this personal story also depicts some of the less-than-rosy events that happened behind closed doors during her initial climb to fameamong them, her release from The Facts of Life, her managers embezzlement of the money she made on the show, and her struggle with chronic pain, despair, and a fear of revealing her true sexual identity. Told with grace and humor, this inspirational narrative presents an honest portrayal of a woman who refused to give up when others kept knocking her down.
About the Author
"Geri is an amazingly courageous, talented actor. Her view of life is inspirational." Lily Tomlin, actress and comedian"Geri is not only is a fabulous comedienne, actress, and motivational speaker, but advocating for people with disabilities has made a difference in the lives of millions. Lord knows she's had an impact on my life! Granted if she could just sit still, I could read her lips once in awhile!" Kathy Buckley, actress and comedian"I have known, admired, and adored Geri Jewell since the beginning of her comedy career. She is not only brilliant and funny, she has overcome an impossible obstacle in Hollywood; she's brunette." Elayne Boosler, comedian, writer, and founder, Tails of Joy"A natural at whatever she does. It was a joy to work with her. It's a joy to read this book." Ian McShane, actor who played Al Swearengen in Deadwood