Samantha Renke’s debut book, ‘You Are The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread’, is essentially her autobiography but for many readers it can also be regarded as a self help, motivational type of book. Renke’s book is a true reflection of life; the ups and downs, the bright and dark side, the highs and lows yet in every situation there is a unique beauty.
Samantha Renke who is a wheelchair user and lives with Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) – a genetic disorder that prevents the body from building strong bones – commonly known as brittle bones is an actress, presenter, disability activist, inclusion and equality consultant and Key note speaker, and a columnist and has written a multitude of articles, on what it is like to be disabled in an disabling world. She has even appeared alongside the singer Boy George in a music video.
Although ‘You Are The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread’ is a book that deals and addresses the issue of disability and the many challenges that comes with it, but non disabled people will equally connect with it as the book covers topics that many would identify with; from bullying to anxiety to self belief and isolation, these are all aspects of life that every person goes through at some stage. It focuses on self love, self healing and the belief that we are the best thing on earth.
“Because life with a disability or chronic condition is still deemed by many to be a life not worth living. An inferior existence. A joyless or hopeless life. I am here to tell you all that a disabled life is a beautiful, rich and joyful life. It isn’t a tragedy. An inherently bad thing”.
From the first page of the book, the reader is struck by Renke’s honesty as she discusses intimate and personal details, her vulnerability and her struggle with anxiety and depression. As a disabled woman, Renke’s journey in accepting her body and identity will resonate with many people as everyone struggles with their identity and body image.
‘You Are The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread’ is the story of almost every person who had their confidence shattered from a young age by teachers who put you down and discourage you from aiming high, it’s the story of every teenager who had been bullied and made them question their own worth. It is the story of every young disabled adult who wants to love and be loved but is met with rejection and inaccessible world – not just infrastructure but the mind of people too.
The book addresses all the obstacles, challenges and discrimination that disabled people face on a daily basis but at the same time it also gives the reader a glimpse of how beautiful life can be living with disability if the world was more inclusive and accepting of the other. Renke writes “We are unique and that’s beautiful. I think we need to reflect on that a little bit more and appreciate the beauty of who we are, irrespective of what we look like. Being yourself and embracing all that is uniquely you is one of the hardest, but most valuable, life lessons you can learn.”
‘You Are The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread’ gives the reader a very clear and honest view of living with disability and it also gives you the motivation and hope that will push you to change this world and to assist you when you are at your lowest. The book invites people to recognise their flaws and admit their less favourable attributes as only then one can embrace one’s identity and work on self development. Renke’s advice is to “spend less time worrying about trying to fit in, trying to be popular, a carbon copy of someone else. Stop looking to others for validation and inspiration. Instead, invest more time in yourself and become the person you’d be proud of, inspired by and thankful for. Be your own goddamn muse. Forget about finding yourself and concentrate on creating yourself”
This book is for anyone struggling to embrace their identity or trying to discover who they want to be and how to live their life.
We have given the book 4.5 out 5.
YOU ARE THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD by Samantha Renke is published
Happy Place Books part of Ebury.