Author & Speaker

nancer the dancer

Review of “Nancer the Dancer” – A book about attitude and human spirit

నిడదవోలు మాలతి (Malathi Nidadavolu)

This book is about attitude, about human spirit.
It is about a person called Nancy Gwinn Nee.
nancer the dancerIt is written by her older sister Judith Gwinn Adrian. She lets the protagonist tell her story. No editorializing, no narrator’s opinions, no comments.
I was drawn in as soon as I started to read simply because it was well-written. The book opens with Nancy’s , Nancer the Dancer, childhood days. In her teen years, she wrote “a poem to myself, about myself,” following Ralph Waldo Emerson’s advice, “Write what you are.” That is what she does in this book also.
Nancy writes about her “attitude” toward life, which includes her growing up in a privileged class family with parents’ strict rules and the children’s carefully planned shenanigans. I am sure my Indian friends of that era can relate to these events. I thought this would be a piece of history for those who have traveled to America and have “seen America.” This story tells about America two previous generations before what they are seeing today.
Nancy was always a joyful woman, she had a happy life. So, when she was “introduced” (her words) to a serious illness, she nicknamed it “Reuben” and even personalized it as “he”, and confronted him head on. The manner in which she dealt with him is something we all can learn from.
Actually, I see two messages in this book.
First : Let us review how we view persons with serious/terminal illnesses. It is almost always one of sympathy, worry and/or concern. Rarely, never to be frank, ask how the individual thinks, feels, and deals with her/his situation. Never ask “How do you view yourself,” “What do YOU want to do?”
I am saying stop talking about how you feel and let the person live his/her life as he/she thinks and feels. Try to see his/her life from his/her perspective.
Nancy tells us she has a life apart from housing Rueben in her body, so to speak. This is really an important distinction from other books on “victims” of any disease. We all need to learn to appreciate the person’s life from the perspective of that person.
Second: Attitude. It is all about attitude. Everybody has problems. Will you dwell on your problems and let them take over all your life completely? Or, separate them and try to live the other part of your life? It is your choice.
It was an easy read, written in simple English but for a few phrases, some games, urban epithets, and medical terminology. They did not stop me from continue to read though.
Judith Gwinn Adrian and I go way back to mid-90s when I joined the Edgewood College staff in Madison, Wisconsin.
Previously, I have read two of her four books. Regarding Judith’s first book, “Because I am Jackie Miller”, I said, “It was well-written.” Judith replied that she wrote what Jackie Miller said. Judith is a good listener, listening is one good tool for good writing. Judith Gwinn Adrian is a good listener and good writer.
Thanks Judy, for sharing the story of your sister, Nancy Gwinn Nee. She had a meaningful life, full of zest and, of course, “attitude.”
Thanks for sending the book. It has been years since I held a book, I mean as a physical entity, and read. It was an interesting read, the 1.5 line spacing was particularly helpful.
The book “Nancer the Dancer” is available on Amazon.