Leg by Greg Marshall

The Story of a Limb and the Boy Who Grew from It

“I was almost thirty when I discovered, quite by accident, that I have cerebral palsy,” the author Greg Marshall writes at the beginning of his memoir, Leg. “No one had ever told me about my diagnosis, not my physical therapists or my orthopedic surgeon, and certainly not my parents.”

Marshall has spent his life walking with a limp, and a good portion of his childhood in casts, leg braces and physical therapy. However, with a mum battling cancer, a dad with ALS, and “the middle child of five kids in a rowdy family where someone was almost dying or OD-ing, I didn’t ask too many questions,” he writes. If anyone asked why he was limping, he’d tell them it was tight tendons. 

Greg discovered his secret case of cerebral palsy in 2014, after his father died, while applying for health insurance.

His mother, Debi, didn’t believe in labels, and thought it best to keep the diagnosis from Greg to give him the best shot at living a normal life. “My family isn’t a family. It’s a way of life, and a chaotic one at that,” Greg writes.

Leg is a memoir that takes readers back to Greg’s early years, through the highs and lows of the Marshall family, and into the author’s own personal story of self-discovery. 

This is a deeply moving book that’s brimming with hope, love, nostalgia, and the kind of humour that made me laugh so much that I had tears flowing down my face. It’s one of those you read and can’t forget, a forever recommendation. Leg is a courageous and soaring triumph. 

I was reminded of The Family Outing by Jessi Hempel while reading, a book I loved. If you enjoyed Hempel’s memoir – I think you’ll love this.

Photo: Greg Marshall

Greg Marshall was raised in Salt Lake City. A National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in Prose, Marshall is a graduate of the Michener Center for Writers. His work has appeared in The Best American Essays and been supported by MacDowell and the Corporation of Yaddo. Leg is his first book.

Leg by Greg Marshall is available for order in hardcover, e-book, and audiobook format. Check Bookshop.org or Libro.fm for a retailer near you.

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