by Bette Lee Crosby
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When Lani Deauville was seventeen, she fell victim to a diving accident that broke her neck, injured her spinal column, and left her a quadriplegic. That happened back in the 1950’s, when it was believed that a person with such injuries was unlikely to live for days, and most certainly not for over fifty years. But Lani willed herself to live and she did. In the years that followed, Lani worked, paid her way through college and then through Graduate School. She became a Rehabilitation Therapist, worked for the Governor of Florida and was instrumental in the legislation that mandated all state-owned public buildings have handicapped access. She ultimately got married and, in her forties, adopted an infant and raised him. She also established her own health food supplement company and built it into what is now a thriving business…and all this is merely the tip of the iceberg.
Life in the Land of IS…the Amazing Story of Lani Deauville is a memoir of the woman who is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the World’s Longest Living Quadriplegic.
Life in the Land of IS..the Amazing Story of Lani Deauville is a memoir written by Betty Lee Crosby about the life of Lani Deauillle. Last year I reviewed Betty’s novel Spare Change and loved it. When Betty approached me to review this, I was a little hesitant. I don’t particularly read non-fiction and especially something that might make me cry. I will always be thankful to Betty for asking me to review this. It is truly an inspirational story, of human courage and the power of living in IS moments. I laughed more than I cried, and Lani’s story touched me. It is the kind of story that stays with you.
When Lani was seventeen a diving accident left her a quadriplegic. This occurred in the fifty’s when Doctor’s knew little of the illness and most suffered from other infections and died. Lani not only lived, she changed the world she lived in, loved and was successful in so many areas of her life.
Lani and Crosby take us through Lani’s life beginning with her teens. Lani’s childhood was unique and had both beautiful moments and ones that made me cry. I laughed at her antics, cried for her loss and wavered back in forth in my opinion of her mother. We travel with Lani as she goes from hospital to hospital. We witness first-hand as she learns to feed and take care of herself. When Lani finally returns home, she maps out her life. Some in her position might be tempted to spend their day watching television and holding pity parties. Lani took on the world and her story will inspire you.
Crosby delivers Lani’s story to us in such a way, that it feels like you and Lani are sitting at a table sharing a cup of Joe. The tale slips beautifully between past and present and kept me enthralled. Lani shares the good and the bad of her childhood. As a mother some of her actions made me want to scream and at other times I wanted to hold the child Lani. She so desperately needed to be loved and was passionate about animals. Crosby skillfully painted Lani’s life, inspiring us. Each time Lani had a setback, she dusted herself off and began again. Lani lived(lives) her life in moments and fully appreciates everything. She gave back to the world, her community and the people she loved. I cannot thank her enough for sharing her life with us from the past to the present. Lani, I hope you see a hundred.
I find myself looking for IS moments and appreciating them, no matter how big or how small. I highly recommend this inspirational memoir to everyone. For anyone who has ever said, “It cannot be done” or “It’s too hard.” Look to Lani and her story, because it can be done. The Land of IS, is currently available on Kindle.