Review of Marty Jezer's "Stuttering: A Life Bound up in Words"


I have just finished a book that I think any person who stutters should read. It is called Stuttering: A life bound up in words by Marty Jezer. From the very beginning to the end you can relate to him as  a person who stuttered severely and still had a life! He explains all of the different therapies he had from a young age up into his fifties and the self-help groups thatenabled him to understand himself as a person who stutters and to help others with his knowledge. He went through multiple forms of therapy – from the Hollins therapy (similar to the PFSP therapy in Canada) to using "the Masker" (a device like the SpeechEasy). Being through these different treatments and working day and night on his fluency he was still unable to gain the fluency that he wanted outside of the clinical setting. Extremely frustrated, at one point in the book he sees a Gestalt psychologist to focus on the emotional upheaval he had been experiencing for so long, but yet had not talked about. This put him into a depression for about two weeks, as repressing such emotions for so long and then uprooting them can cause a trauma in its own right!

He writes about all of the irrational worries that we as stutterers have, such as using the telephone and meeting someone new who might say "give me a call". As soon as they hand you their business card you already know you are not going to call this person, even though you desperately want too. He worries about his children stuttering and have to go through the same things.

He discusses the famous speech pathologist Van Riper and his theory that the quest to understanding stuttering is a "multi-dimensional jigsaw puzzle with many pieces still missing". The complexity of the puzzle – putting together all of the pieces – may, in the end, prove to be impossible.

In the end, the book summarizes a lot of different therapies yet the author never gains the fluency he craves. He goes through a rollercoaster of emotions on the road to accepting this result as a person who stutters. He suggests participation in Toastmasters, self-help groups, psychotherapy for you to understanding your core being, which can help you while transitioning into any speech therapy. Ultimately, which I have recently experienced, being a part of the biggest self-help organization such as the National Stuttering Association (called the National Stuttering Project when Jezer attended) as a means to meet those self-help heroes that we all need as people who stutter (well I know I do!).

Who are your self-help heroes if you have any?
If you don't understand, someone who has inspired you to become all you can be despite your stuttering?

One of mine is definitely Marty Jezer, as his words have impacted me and made me realize that although i have a stutter, and very low self esteem, and sometimes don't know which direction i am going in, etc. I can still be what i want to be and to "GO FOR IT!"

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