|About the Book|
Am I paralyzed? Am I going to die? Those were the questions Joshua Prager asked a paramedic on May 16, 1990, after the minibus hed been traveling in during a visit to Israel was blindsided by a runaway truck. At the start of that day, he had beenMoreAm I paralyzed? Am I going to die? Those were the questions Joshua Prager asked a paramedic on May 16, 1990, after the minibus hed been traveling in during a visit to Israel was blindsided by a runaway truck. At the start of that day, he had been an exuberant, athletic nineteen-year-old, an aspiring doctor and an all-star baseball player who loved the Yankees. A golden future seemed assured. The accident, in which Prager suffered a broken neck, instantly turned his life from before to after.In Half-Life: Reflections from Jerusalem on a Broken Neck, Prager, an award-winning journalist, delivers an often agonizing, frequently comic, and always soulful account of a young mans attempt to survive a near fatal injury and recover his formerly carefree existence, only to discover that it is gone forever. Pragers determination to make a new life for himself fully bears comparison with Jean-Dominique Baubys The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, in which a man trapped in his own motionless body overcomes his limitations with a mind and heart free to travel anywhere.But Prager is no meek paragon of sickroom virtue. He spares no one in his account—not insensitive doctors, not irritable nurses, and not himself. On a trip from the hospital to his childhood home, he struggles to crawl up the steps, despite doctors orders to stay away from stairs. He threatens to sue Columbia University to make it more accessible to the disabled. Eager to date, he must find a way to fend off the pity of potential girlfriends. And yet he is not too proud to make use of the disabled section in order to attend a sold-out Bruce Springsteen concert. To celebrate his half-life, he wants nothing more than to play a game of catch with his father.The columnist George Will has lauded Prager for his exemplary journalistic sleuthing, skills that the now forty-one-year-old writer has applied to recording the highs and lows of his life so far. Rich in literary allusion and bursting with heart, Half-Life is, in the end, less about the loss of physical powers and more about the growth of a mind and an indomitable will.