Friday, October 28, 2022

BLOG TOUR for Piece by Piece: How I Built My Life (No Instructions Required) by David Aguilar & Ferran Aguilar, translated by Lawrence Schimel

Piece by Piece:  How I Built My Life (No Instructions Required) by David Aguilar & Ferran Aguilar, translated by Lawrence Schimel
Format:  E-ARC
Publisher:  Amazon Crossing Kids
Number of pages:  304
Published:  October 25th, 2022
Source:  E-ARC via Blue Slip Media  

Opening Line:  "I've often been asked what it feels like when you're missing half an arm."

David and Ferran Aguilar are from Andorra, a microstate on the Iberian Peninsula, in the eastern Pyrenees, bordered by France to the north and Spain to the South.  David was born with Poland syndrome, a rare disease that left him without a forearm.  Piece by Piece is a memoir that details David's life from the moment he is born, to around the age of eighteen or nineteen.  The story is written in conjunction with David's father and includes both their fears, anxieties and hopes for his future as well as reflections on the authors own experiences, and feelings growing up.

The story is told with a lot of humor and is a very engrossing read.  There is a wonderful balance between explaining David's struggles growing up, the ignorance of adults, stares, and insults at school, with the publicity he received from having designed a prosthesis from LEGO bricks at the age of nine.  Sharing both the highs and lows in his life.   I found the chronology of events to be occasionally hard to follow, as David would start to tell a story, only to say he was getting ahead of himself, and then jump back to a different event, making it hard to interpret his age for when certain things happened.  But overall, it's an amazing story, an inspiring story of resilience and perseverance.  

David's family was so loving and supportive, especially his grandmother who refused to think of David's loss of a limb as a tragedy.  Both David and his father have a wonderful relationship, they constantly redefined and adjusted to changes in David's life and the things he needed to accomplish on a daily basis.  His father even learned to adapt both his initial thoughts of the things that David wouldn't be able to do, into modifying a bicycle to allow him to live "without limits." His father's adaptive devices were remarkably inventive.  Included within the book are color photographs of David with his family, images of the numerous awards and recognitions that he received for his LEGO prothesis constructions.  His trip to NASA, feature in National Geographic and the movie Mr. Hand Solo that also details his life were nicely depicted.   David is a remarkable individual and I thoroughly enjoyed reading his story, it's a compelling story with the message of not being limited by other people's thinking, to strive toward accomplishing your dreams and overcoming any obstacles in your way.  **A huge thank you to Barbara Finch at Blue Slip Media for the E-ARC.**               

David Aguilar and his father, Ferran Aguilar, are from Andorra, in Europe. David was born missing part of one arm. At the age of nine, he designed his first prosthesis with LEGO bricks, and in high school he built the next generation, which he named the MK-1. David’s father encouraged him to make a video about his prosthesis and the huge role that LEGOs played in his life, and posted it on social media, where it went viral and changed both of their lives. In addition to telling his story in this book, David is also the protagonist of the Spanish documentary Mr. Hand Solo, which won the award for best documentary at the Boston Science Fiction Film festival. David is currently developing his own brand, Hand Solo, which will aim to benefit various organizations for the disabled and fight against the stigma of “diff-ability,” as he calls it. Follow David and Ferran on Twitter @Handsolooficial and @AguilarFerran.

Instagram: @handsoloofficial

Lawrence Schimel is a bilingual author who writes in both Spanish and English, with more than one hundred books to his credit. He is also a prolific literary translator, into English and into Spanish. His translated books include Wanda Gág’s Millions of Cats; George Takei’s graphic novel They Called Us Enemy; and Some Days, written and illustrated by María Wernicke; among many others. He lives in Madrid, Spain. Follow him on Twitter @lawrenceschimel.

David in his own words describing How he built his Prosthetic Arm with Lego Bricks 

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