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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Me, Myself & Eye: A Memoir by Dan Jeffries - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Dan Jeffries has Wyburn-Mason syndrome, which is a rare medical condition. He is a creative man with many ambitions. In Me, Myself & Eye: A Memoir he tells his life story. He shares what it's like to regularly go to hospital appointments and to have regular surgery while also chasig his dreams and going on a quest to find love at the same time. Dan Jeffries grew up in Bristol where he's always tried to find a way to fame. Which directions did his life take?

Me, Myself & Eye: A Memoir is an interesting book. Dan Jeffries is a natural storyteller. I was intrigued from the very beginning and he managed to keep me captivated until the end of his book. I loved how openly he writes about his life. He doesn't leave anything out and tells his entire story, this means he shares the highs and the lows. I love how honest he is. He can laugh about his embarrassing moments and is proud when something goes well, which for me shows that he knows how to live and has a good idea of what's important in life. He's great at expressing his feelings and does this with a fabulous sense of humor. His stories often made me smile, giggle or laugh out loud. While he addresses quite a few serious issues as well, he has a warm and amusing tone of voice that keeps the story light enough and well balanced at all times.

Me, Myself & Eye: A Memoir has plenty of fun extras. Dan Jeffries has added videos, photos, comments, fragments, letters and papers to his book that the reader can easily access by clicking a link. I loved that he makes his book come to life even more through so much interactivity. It's much more fun to listen to music than to just read about it for example, it makes things real. Plus he paints a good clear picture and that enables his readers to fully understand everything he's writing about, which is something that I could definitely appreciate.

Dan Jeffries is an interesting person and I flew through the pages of his book. He allows his readers to come close to him and get to know him through and through, which is a fantastic gift. He combines his complex medical history with humoristic stories about his adventures and endeavors. Dan Jeffries is never boring, he's energetic and has a dynamic way with words that constantly made me feel enthusiastic about what I was reading. Me, Myself & Eye: A Memoir is a terrific book, the biography is filled with creativity, originality and charm. I highly recommend anyone to read about Dan Jeffries. He has a fascinating story to tell and does it really well.

Advice

If you love reading well written heartwarming biographies you shouldn't miss Me, Myself & Eye: A Memoir.

About Dan Jeffries


Wyburn-Mason syndrome. Ever heard of it? Dan Jeffries has, and his insightful and hilarious memoir explores what it's like living with one of the world's rarest medical conditions – and then finding out you have another one.

As well as exploring some universal themes of love, creativity and what it means to be a ‘man’, Me, Myself & Eye reflects on the challenges of growing up with such a rare condition, Dan’s frequent visits to Bristol Eye Hospital, his ambition to be an actor (or a professional snooker player) and then the journey of ‘big school’, University and eventually settling in Bristol to find his fame and fortune. And that’s when things really started to change.

Told through an innovative new approach that combines the traditional reading experience with modern technology, Me, Myself & Eye really lets the reader delve into Dan’s life story. Access the integrated footnotes to look at family photos, medical documents, scans and more and visit the web app to view videos and even listen to music Dan’s written over the years.

Me, Myself & Eye is a memoir that is both fascinating and insightful, packed full of drama and humour, and told with a fresh, honest and unique voice.

Links

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads // Amazon

Interview

1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Sure. Hello readers! My name’s Dan Jeffries, I’m from the UK and I was born with Wyburn-Mason syndrome, an incredibly rare vascular condition that left me blind in one eye. It’s incredibly rare; so rare that there has only been around 30 reported cases in the last 50 years — worldwide. And then in 2007 I was diagnosed with Acromegaly — another rare condition caused by a benign tumour in the pituitary gland, and a condition that had life-threatening implications. That’s the basis for my memoir.

2) How did you get the idea to write a book about your life?

I was telling my story over dinner to a group of friends, there was a pause and someone casually said “you should write a book!”. It was like a lightbulb going off. I did ask myself ‘why would anyone want to read my story?’, but I knew I had a story to tell and from that point on I couldn’t be stopped!

3) You’ve openly written about everything you’ve been through, how difficult was it to tell people so much about yourself?

I didn’t find it difficult at all. I’ve shared my experiences quite openly with friends and family (well, not everything), so putting it in a book seemed OK to me. I really wanted to explore some issues that men, on the whole, aren’t too keen to talk about - mostly sex, testosterone and what it means to be a ‘man’.

4) You have quite a few health problems, but you never let them stop you from achieving things, how do you do this and do you have any advice for people who are in a similar situation?

The truth is: I don’t know. I seem to be ‘blessed’ with a generally positive outlook on the hand I’ve been dealt. But, having been to quite a few rare disease conferences of late, it’s great to see that I’m not the only with a positive spin on life. I think the ability to be able to laugh at yourself and look at your own issues in the context of the bigger picture is important too.

5) Music is an important part of your life, can you tell a bit more about what it means to you?

I’ve been involved in music since I was a kid: from playing the piano to singing in choirs to DJing and producing my own tracks. I love the creative process, I love making people dance and writing music is the ultimate creator/finisher activity. I have big plans for 2018 to release even more music!

6) You’re very open about your rare conditions, have you always been able to talk so freely about them and what’s it like to deal with something nobody else has?

I never really spoke about the Wyburn-Mason syndrome until after the publication of the book. As far as I knew, I was the only one with it! But early last year, a lady from the States contacted me to say she had found my book through a Gooogle search and she had Wyburn-Mason syndrome too! It was quite a moment, and she happened to be in the UK for a few weeks so we met up and chatted about it. Since then I have created a Facebook group for those living with Wyburn-Mason syndrome; we have 6 members.

As for the Acromegaly…well, that’s not quite as rare but still pretty uncommon. The internet and particularly Facebook has been an incredibly powerful tool to bring people tougher so they can talk about their diagnosis and treatment, share stories and feel supported. In July 2017 I organised the first UK Acromegaly Meetup and we had over 40 people attend. That’s the power of talking freely.

7) What was the best thing about writing a book?

Ooh - good question. I think the day I had 500 books delivered to my flat is pretty hard to beat! Actually seeing it in print, there, in front of your eyes is a pretty special moment.

And of course, receiving positive feedback has been amazing too. People living with these conditions have left fantastic reviews saying that - not only did the book make them laugh - but it helped them understand the treatment process and more. Coming from those living with the conditions, you can’t ask for better than that.

8) You’ve been creative your whole life and have done many different things already, acting, making music, performing, writing, etc. Are there still areas you’re dreaming of exploring?

Having a girlfriend would be a good one! All of the above keeps me more than busy, so I’ll focus on those for now.

9) You’re book shows you have a great sense of humor and like to laugh, how does this positive attitude influence your life?

Laughter, as they say, is the best medicine. I don’t believe in taking life too seriously and take great pleasure in ridiculing myself (and others).

10) You write about love a lot, what does love mean to you?

Love is many things. Love is the support of friends when you need them. Love is looking into someone’s eyes and not having to say a word. Love is calling someone just at the right time. And love is all of these things and none of these things too. But when you find it…you know.

11) You’ve added a lot of great extras to your book that people can click on and then watch or listen to, how did you get this idea?

Ah - that was my true lightbulb moment. I actually got the idea for the companion website whilst I was brushing my teeth! I was pacing around the flat, just before bed, cleaning my teeth, and thinking that I had all this great material from my life that I wanted to share: photos, medical records, music, video. I knew that putting pictures into a book would send the print cost sky high and I suddenly thought: make an app! Use footnotes at the bottom of the page to indicate when to check the app/website. For those reading eBooks, all the picture are automatically included, with a link to the video and music when needed.

It’s been really interesting talking to people about how they read the book too. Some love to stop and check the website, others like to wait till the end of the chapter. Some don’t engage with it at all. And all of that is fine. I’m just proud I had the idea and I hope it encourages others to do something similar (or better!) too.

12) You’ve told people about yourself, but time continues after the book will you keep them updated in a new book?

Ahh, the elusive second book. I’ve thought about this. I may - in 20 years time - write a follow up, when I can explore ideas that are easier to discuss after the passing of time, when I can update on my life progress and fill in some of the gaps. I may do it, I may not. Writing the book was a huge undertaking and whilst I loved every minute of it, it’s a massive project. I’ll have to wait and see if there’s a desire for it! In the meantime, people can always follow me on Facebook or Twitter and keep up to date with the latest developments.

13) What are your plans for the future?

This year I launched the Audio Book version, which I’m really excited about. I’ve also been talking lots at conferences and events about living with two rare diseases (and about the creative process of the book too), and that’s taken me all over the world: Canada, Belgrade and hopefully next year the States. I’m also looking to develop my presentation into a one-man show and take it to the Edinburgh Festival!

As you can see — I do love a project.

Giveaway


Three very lucky readers of With Love for Books will receive an audio book, kindle or iBook copy of Me, Myself & Eye (winner's choice).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

14 comments:

  1. Love Dan's attitude and wish him excellent health and abundance. I enjoy reading biographies and would love to read his in free kindle app. Thanks.

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  2. It sounds fascinating! I checked online to see that Pruitt Taylor Vince has "nystagmus," which I imagine is more common!

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  3. Me, Myself & Eye sounds like a fascinating and insightful memoir packed full of drama and humour.

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  4. It sounds like a really good read.

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  5. this looks like an absorbing and interesting read xx

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  6. ^ members in his syndrome related facebook group, now that's a rare disease. 700+ people following him as an author, now that's communicating! A very interesting fellow.

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  7. Sounds like a wonderful book. I will have to check this out. Thanks for the review.

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  8. Wow - what a start to the year! Thanks for all the kind comments and a great review, Suze! And good luck to everyone who has entered the competition.

    Happy New Year!

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  9. I would like to read Dan s book. Thanks for a chance to win it and to read about Dan s everyday life and this condition.

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  10. https://plus.google.com/u/0/116323573693055422688 for follow us I accidently put my twitter

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