#Review “The Little Gate-Crasher: The Life and Photos of Mace Bugen” by Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

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4/5 Stars!

Though a short read, The Little Gate-Crasher gives an insightful and in-depth look at the life of an extraordinary man.

Born with dwarfism in a time it was seen as a handicap to be hidden away out of shame or put on display for profit, Moishe Morris ‘Mace’ Bugen was born into a big loving family who didn’t treat him differently or coddle him.

With tenacity and sheer will, Mace would become a successful entrepreneur and businessman and a respected standout in community and civic groups, especially with youth and in sports, and in Jewish affairs.

Mace was also the king of self-promotion, staging more photo ops than a legion of press photographers. He had his photo snapped with luminaries from sports and stage and theater. He posed with politicians—and even a future president. While some subjects in the photos may look a bit surprised or caught off-guard, Mace Bugen is enjoying every second of it.

This read has some great photos—all property of the family—recapturing an era in modern history, with Mace front and center, of course. I didn’t read of any time Mace tried to use his disability for preferential treatment, but he had no problem using the shock value of his size to get his photos. Smart man!

But this leads me to my issue with the book. Photo and caption placement and formatting. Photo captions are listed at the beginning of the book. The photos are placed at the beginning of each section WITH captions. Many of the stories behind the photos are told throughout the story and it would have been less distracting to have photos with their stories, followed by a photo array at the end. And that list of captions in the front matter? It’s redundant, but I believe it should be part of the back matter. Future readers doing a Look Inside or downloading a sample will only get the copyright notice and the list of captions.

Life has changed much for individuals with special needs in the one-hundred-and-three years since Mace’s birth. Laws are in place protecting them and medicine and technology are now able to help alleviate some of the pain associated with dwarfism, and in some case, even give them additional height.

But Mace Bugen didn’t have those things and didn’t need them. He was forty-three inches tall… and larger than life. Pick up this unique bio today and meet the little gate-crasher.

Enjoy!

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Mace BugenMace Bugen might have been an achondroplastic dwarf, 43 inches tall with an average size head and torso set on small, twisted legs—but that didn’t mean he was an idiot or a pushover. In truth, he was smarter than most; over the years, he learned to effectively turn what society in those days called a handicap into a powerful tool he could use to his advantage.

“When I was a kid,” he once said, “I’d ask myself, Why is that guy on the football team? Why can’t I be on the team? Why didn’t God give me the height so I could be the hero?”

“Then at some point I figured it out: I gotta do something special to let ’em know I’m me.”

In The Little Gate Crasher: The Life And Photos Of Mace BugenI remember my amazing great-Uncle Mace Bugen through his journey as a first-generation Jewish-American kid in working class Philipsburg, NJ to becoming the first celebrity selfie-artist—way ahead of his time.

Featuring vintage photos of Mace with his exploits, The Little Gate Crasher captures three decades of American pop culture, seen through the unique lens of Mace and his gate-crashing exploits.

Underneath his antics, we meet a complex man who continually defies others expectations and meets life on his own terms. Mace becomes a successful businessman and devoted son to his aging parents. But in his gate-crashing antics, we best get to see Mace’s unique combination of guile, cunning and sense of entitlement, which he used to engineer photos of himself with some of the biggest celebrities of his day. If people were going to stare at him all of his life, he would give them something to see.

The Little Gate Crasher features over 50 vintage photos of Mace with celebrities, athletes and politicians, including Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Muhammad Ali, Richard Nixon, Jane Russel, Joe DiMaggio and more.

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Amazon US        |       Amazon UK

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 Giveaway

Win a paperback copy of The Little Gate-Crasher (Open to US & Canada only)

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E N T E R

*Terms and Conditions –USA / Canada entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organizer and used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

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#BlogBlitz “The Little Gate-Crasher: The Life and Photos of Mace Bugen” by Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

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Mace BugenMace Bugen might have been an achondroplastic dwarf, 43 inches tall with an average size head and torso set on small, twisted legs—but that didn’t mean he was an idiot or a pushover. In truth, he was smarter than most; over the years, he learned to effectively turn what society in those days called a handicap into a powerful tool he could use to his advantage.

“When I was a kid,” he once said, “I’d ask myself, Why is that guy on the football team? Why can’t I be on the team? Why didn’t God give me the height so I could be the hero?”

“Then at some point I figured it out: I gotta do something special to let ’em know I’m me.”

In The Little Gate Crasher: The Life And Photos Of Mace BugenI remember my amazing great-Uncle Mace Bugen through his journey as a first-generation Jewish-American kid in working class Philipsburg, NJ to becoming the first celebrity selfie-artist—way ahead of his time.

Featuring vintage photos of Mace with his exploits, The Little Gate Crasher captures three decades of American pop culture, seen through the unique lens of Mace and his gate-crashing exploits.

Underneath his antics, we meet a complex man who continually defies others expectations and meets life on his own terms. Mace becomes a successful businessman and devoted son to his aging parents. But in his gate-crashing antics, we best get to see Mace’s unique combination of guile, cunning and sense of entitlement, which he used to engineer photos of himself with some of the biggest celebrities of his day. If people were going to stare at him all of his life, he would give them something to see.

The Little Gate Crasher features over 50 vintage photos of Mace with celebrities, athletes and politicians, including Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Muhammad Ali, Richard Nixon, Jane Russel, Joe DiMaggio and more.

3D cover

 

Amazon US        |       Amazon UK

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Gabrielle Kaplan MayerAuthor Bio – Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer is an experienced educator, author and speaker. At Jewish Learning Venture, she works as Director of Whole Community Inclusion and leads disability awareness programs for the Philadelphia Jewish community. Her most recent book The Little Gate Crasher, a memoir of her Great-Uncle, who overcame society’s prejudices about dwarfism to lead a remarkable life, was one of the national book selections for 2017 Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month. Gabby writes for and edits The New York Jewish Week’s The New Normal: Blogging Disability and is also a featured Philly parenting blogger for WHYY’s newsworks. Gabby holds a B.F.A. in theatre and creative writing from Emerson College and an M.A. in Jewish Studies from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

 

Social Media Links

Website     |     Twitter     |     Facebook      

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 Giveaway

Win a paperback copy of The Little Gate-Crasher (Open to US & Canada only)

3D cover

E N T E R

*Terms and Conditions –USA / Canada entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organizer and used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

~~~

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“Carry On: A Story of Resilience, Redemption, and An Unlikely Family” by Lisa Fenn

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Carry On: A Story of Resilience, Redemption, and An Unlikely Family

by Lisa Fenn

Genre: Memoirs/Special Needs/ Wrestling

1.99 at time of posting!

In the spirit of The Blind Side and Friday Night Lightscomes a tender and profoundly moving memoir about an ESPN producer’s unexpected relationship with two disabled wrestlers from inner city Cleveland, and how these bonds—blossoming, ultimately, into a most unorthodox family—would transform their lives.

When award-winning ESPN producer Lisa Fenn returned to her hometown for a story about two wrestlers at one of Cleveland’s toughest public high schools, she had no idea that the trip would change her life. Both young men were disadvantaged students with significant physical disabilities. Dartanyon Crockett was legally blind as a result of Leber’s disease; Leroy Sutton lost both his legs at eleven, when he was run over by a train. Brought together by wrestling, they had developed a brother-like bond as they worked to overcome their disabilities.

After forming a profound connection with Dartanyon and Leroy, Fenn realized she couldn’t just walk away when filming ended; these boys had had to overcome the odds too many times. Instead, Fenn dedicated herself to ensuring their success long after the reporting was finished and the story aired—and an unlikely family of three was formed.

The years ahead would be fraught with complex challenges, but Fenn stayed with the boys every step of the way—teaching them essential life skills, helping them heal old wounds and traumatic pasts, and providing the first steady and consistent support system they’d ever had.

This powerful memoir is one of love, hope, faith, and strength—a story about an unusual family and the courage to carry on, even in the most extraordinary circumstances.

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“Dear Marcus: A Letter to the Man Who Shot Me” by Jerry McGill

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Dear Marcus: A Letter to the Man Who Shot Me

by Jerry McGill

Genre: Nonfiction/Memoirs/Social Sciences/Special Needs/Disabled

1.99 at time of posting

The idea to write to you was not an easy one.
The scar from where the bullet entered my back is still there.
 
Jerry McGill was thirteen years old, walking home through the projects of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, when he was shot in the back by a stranger. Jerry survived, wheelchair-bound for life; his assailant was never caught. Thirty years later, Jerry wants to say something to the man who shot him.

I have decided to give you a name.
I am going to call you Marcus.
 
With profound grace, brutal honesty, and devastating humor, Jerry McGill takes us on a dramatic and inspiring journey—from the streets of 1980s New York, where poverty and violence were part of growing up, to the challenges of living with a disability and learning to help and inspire others, to the long, difficult road to acceptance, forgiveness, and, ultimately, triumph.

I didn’t write this book for you, Marcus. I wrote this for those who endure.
Those who manage. Those who are determined to move on.

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“Carry On: A Story of Resilience, Redemption, and An Unlikely Family” by Lisa Fenn

Cover

Carry On: A Story of Resilience, Redemption, and An Unlikely Family

by Lisa Fenn

Genre: Memoirs/Special Needs/ Wrestling

1.99 at time of posting!

In the spirit of The Blind Side and Friday Night Lightscomes a tender and profoundly moving memoir about an ESPN producer’s unexpected relationship with two disabled wrestlers from inner city Cleveland, and how these bonds—blossoming, ultimately, into a most unorthodox family—would transform their lives.

When award-winning ESPN producer Lisa Fenn returned to her hometown for a story about two wrestlers at one of Cleveland’s toughest public high schools, she had no idea that the trip would change her life. Both young men were disadvantaged students with significant physical disabilities. Dartanyon Crockett was legally blind as a result of Leber’s disease; Leroy Sutton lost both his legs at eleven, when he was run over by a train. Brought together by wrestling, they had developed a brother-like bond as they worked to overcome their disabilities.

After forming a profound connection with Dartanyon and Leroy, Fenn realized she couldn’t just walk away when filming ended; these boys had had to overcome the odds too many times. Instead, Fenn dedicated herself to ensuring their success long after the reporting was finished and the story aired—and an unlikely family of three was formed.

The years ahead would be fraught with complex challenges, but Fenn stayed with the boys every step of the way—teaching them essential life skills, helping them heal old wounds and traumatic pasts, and providing the first steady and consistent support system they’d ever had.

This powerful memoir is one of love, hope, faith, and strength—a story about an unusual family and the courage to carry on, even in the most extraordinary circumstances.

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“The Truth as told by Mason Buttle” by Leslie Connor

The Truth as told by Mason Buttle

By Leslie Connor

Genre: Facts of Life/Difficult Decisions/Special Needs/Bullies

 

Mason Buttle is the biggest, sweatiest kid in his grade, and everyone knows he can barely read or write. Mason’s learning disabilities are compounded by grief. Fifteen months ago, Mason’s best friend, Benny Kilmartin, turned up dead in the Buttle family’s orchard. An investigation drags on, and Mason, honest as the day is long, can’t understand why Lieutenant Baird won’t believe the story Mason has told about that day.

Both Mason and his new friend, tiny Calvin Chumsky, are relentlessly bullied by the other boys in their neighborhood, so they create an underground club space for themselves. When Calvin goes missing, Mason finds himself in trouble again. He’s desperate to figure out what happened to Calvin, and eventually, Benny.

But will anyone believe him?

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“Left: A Novel” by Tamar Ossowski

1.13 at time of posting!


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Left: A Novel

by Tamar Ossowski

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Contemporary/Sisters/Special Needs

Therese Wolley is a mother who has made a promise. She works as a secretary, shops for groceries on Saturdays, and takes care of her two girls. She doesn’t dwell on the fact that her girls are fatherless, mostly because her own father abandoned her before she was born and she has done just fine without him.

Even though her older daughter regularly wakes with nightmares and her younger one whispers letters under her breath, she doesn’t shift from her resolve that everything will be fine. She promises . . . and they believe.

Until the morning an obituary in the newspaper changes everything. Therese immediately knows what she has to do. She cannot delay what she has planned, and she cannot find the words to explain her heartbreaking decision to her daughters. She considers her responsibilities, her girls, and her promise. Then she does the only thing that any real mother would do. She goes on the run with one daughter . . . and abandons the other.

Left is told from the perspectives of Franny, the autistic sister who is left behind; Matilda, the troubled older sister who vows to go back and save her; and Therese, a mother on the run.

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