PopLurker Reviews: Laughing at My Nightmare & People Assume My Girlfriend Is My Nurse by Shane Burcaw

Over the summer, I was hungry for some fresh reads and I was in the mood for memoir. As a fan of the Squirmy and Grubs channel on YouTube, I found myself curious to check out Shane Burcaw’s two books. The first, published in 2014 is called Laughing at My Nightmare, named after his very successful blog. The follow up, People Assume My Girlfriend is My Nurse was published in 2019– yeah, it gives a lot of room for things to happen.

Shane Burcaw received national attention for appearing in documentaries to introduce people to a condition he was born with called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. He has been a wheelchair user since he was two, never walked, and since he was born, his muscles steadily deteriorated. What makes Shane different is his attitude– he is funny, he is sarcastic, he is, well… just a regular dude. Only he uses a wheelchair.

I think it is so important that Shane shared his experiences with the world through his writing. While the follow up book, People Assume My Girlfriend is My Nurse focuses on being in an inter-abled relationship and some sweet stories about Shane and his (then girlfriend, now wife) Hannah’s relationship, Laughing at My Nightmare introduces the world to a friend they really need to know– especially kids and young adults.

In my review video of these two books (linked above) I share that while I grew up with a disabled grandparent and therefore was used to loving a person who could not walk, many people have literally no one in their life who is physically different. The most might be someone with a different skin color at best. It’s critical to normalize stories from people whose day to day life is different from our own. Shane could very well be the world’s best friend with a disability. That’s not to say he’s the poster boy– he’s not. He’s one person sharing his life. But now, he’s your friend. You care about your friend. And by listening to your friend and hearing them and seeing where their experiences are different than yours and where they’re surprisingly quite the same, it’s a seemingly superficial things that it actually quite important. Ableism is a real thing, and by listening to your friends with disabilities, you can prevent yourself from becoming mistakenly ableist. It’s just important to be a nice person.

And, as noted– Shane has had tons of experiences that are better than the average developing person’s– he’s traveled tons, spoken at seminars, conducted fan meet ups…just really cool stuff.

Laughing at My Nightmare focuses on childhood experiences and stories that will make readers laugh, but also satisfy their curiosity on what it’s like to be Shane. He cures much of his anxiety and fears through laughing, and is fortunate enough to have a very close knit family with two parents and a younger brother who clearly love him more than anything. It was cute to read about his early dating life and read about the girl Shane was with before he met Hannah. Once he met Hannah and was clearly happier, which affected his writing and humor to an extent in People Assume My Girlfriend is My Nurse. Both are worth reading and I really enjoyed each book.

I give Laughing at My Nightmare 4/5 Lurks.

I give People Assume My Girlfriend is My Nurse 3/5 Lurks.

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