In her evocative memoir, not a poster child, Francine Falk-Allen achieves her goal of describing life well-lived while handicapped. In so doing, she fulfills another goal: to honor all handicapped individuals. What results is a remarkable story told in an easily accessible and conversational manner with intelligence, wit, and grace.
Throughout the later chapters of Rise, VanZant takes readers on the rollercoaster of her professional career. From the incredible flying head kick finish of Bec Rawlings to her famous defeat at the hands of Michelle Waterson in the main event of UFC on Fox 22, we see her excitement and disappointment at various moments in her career. No matter if she’s sharing the highs or lows, it is impossible to read these reminiscences without rooting for her every inch of the way.
There’s a graciousness and respect that underlies all of the stories in this book. Little Me creates the feeling that the reader is being taken into a very relaxed confidence, in which we get to hear the juicy backstage details as if they were being whispered to us over a cup of tea. Obviously this is a book that will be far more enjoyable for fans than for those who have never seen Matt Lucas’ work – there are a lot of references to his shows, and reading about the processes behind the shows is definitely part of the enjoyment of this gentle, self-deprecating, sometimes slapstick, but always moving memoir.
To sum up: this is a memorable book and was an influential one too, for the Beats especially (“on the road” is a phrase that recurs throughout; Kerouac seems to have palmed it from here). It is that rare thing: a cult book that lives up to its reputation. Its take-home message: the world is a tool for self-discovery; not at all bad for an autobiography.