Wisdom from a Chair: Thirty Years of Quadriplegia

A Memoir by Andrew I. Batavia and Mitchell Batavia
      This is a review of Drew Batavia's memoir. Drew wrote most of this before his death in 2003. It was recently completed as he had requested by his brother, Mitchell Batavia, whose insights and commentary enrich our knowledge of Drew and his contributions. Drew lived with a C2-3 spinal cord injury, acquired when he was 16 years old and working at a summer camp in upstate New York. He was a health services researcher, attorney, government worker, professor, husband, father, and friend. His life was a life of determination and accomplishment. A memoir has been defined as “how one remembers one's own life.”

      Vidal G. Palimpsest: a memoir. New York: Penguin; 1995.

      This is vividly true of Drew's memoir, in which he shares his memories about spinal cord injury, rehabilitation, politics, health policy, employment, colleagues, love, friendship, and family. Drew had a sharp mind, sharp wit, and sharp tongue. His memoir contains his blunt opinions on many topics, including presidents and politicians in general. It is engaging and informative, and, for those who knew Drew, a poignant reminder of how smart he was, how much fun he was, and how unique he was in many ways beyond his spinal cord injury. As Drew said, “For the last 30 years, I have not gone to a public place or event in which I have not been part of the show.”(pxiv)
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      1. Vidal G. Palimpsest: a memoir. New York: Penguin; 1995.