The New Gabrielle Giffords Book

Gabby, A Story of Courage and Hope, is a book about the recovery of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, written in large part by her husband, Captain Mark Kelly. On January 8th of this year she was shot in the head while meeting with her constituents in Tucson, Arizona. Twelve others were injured and six were killed in the attack. Gabby, as she is known, has spent the last ten months recovering from her traumatic brain injury, undergoing daily rigorous hours of physical and speech therapy.

The strongest part of the book is when Kelly discusses his relationship with Gabby and her struggle to overcome her injuries. The weakest part is when he inserts his political commentary. The theme of the book is that life can change in an instant. How one minute the Congresswoman was an intelligent, vivacious, animated, athletic individual and the next minute was fighting to regain the ability to communicate, walk, and do everyday chores.

Their love and admiration comes across as he describes her as "beautiful, ambitious, incredibly smart, accomplished, full of fun, a charmer, negotiator, having a great sense of humor, easy to talk with, and a listener." He elegantly noted that currently the brain injury is like a "...hurricane, blowing away some words and phrases, and leaving others almost within reach, but buried deep, under debris or in a different place...coping with a constant frustration...but I can still read her body language. I can still know the nuances of that special smile of hers. She's still contagiously animated and usually upbeat..." They seemed to be like two peas in a pod, both with public service careers and devoted to their families as well as each other.

There were many heart-wrenching scenes in the book. One in particular was when Gabby and her mom went back in time as they used to do during a period of frustration or disappointment and would sing together the words to "Tomorrow;" the message being one of hope and perseverance. They continued this ritual as part of her therapy since singing creates new pathways in the brain to strengthen vocabulary.

Another was the relationship between friends. As her good friends Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla) and Senator Kristen Gilibrand (D-NY) came to visit four days after she was shot, while tearfully talking with her, Gabby opened her eye and used every ounce of energy to give the thumbs up, her first step toward recovery. Kelly constantly points out throughout the book that there are no miracles, just baby steps.

There are lessons to be learned as well for those who never experienced a loved one going through a deliberating injury or disease. He talks of feeling that his "dreams had become completely basic. I spent my days hoping that Gabby would be able to end a sentence with a question mark...She's ninety percent there! And that's more than enough for me. Ninety percent? Gabby, we'll take that!" Instead, there was the reality of "sitting in her wheelchair, tears running down her face. She was hyperventilating, absolutely panicked...She had tried to speak, but she couldn't... In her case, she couldn't find any words at all and she knew it."

Yet, she was still able to understand and relate to her friends and family. How many times have people wished they could have gone back in time and had a second chance with someone? His daughters, Claudia and Claire had those feelings, as they never allowed themselves to get close to their stepmother. The book emphasized that his children are among the lucky ones since they have a second chance to repair the relationship.

An interesting part of the book is when he described his decisions to leave her as she was rehabilitating. He chose to lead the sixteen-day space shuttle mission after his twin brother told him that she would want him to "remain on the mission. You are trained (as a military pilot) to put aside personal issues, to focus on your mission." Although that was understandable what is incomprehensible is when a few days later he decided to go to England on a business trip for five days, missing her birthday: the celebration of life since the shooting. He describes in detail how upset she was with him, which every wife can relate with.

He seems to give himself more slack than he is willing to give two Republicans, Sarah Palin and Speaker Boehner. He was understandably upset with both for not calling or attempting to see the Congresswoman. Speaker Boehner in April of this year came to Houston, where she was rehabilitating, for the NCAA Final Four tournament, but according to Kelly, never made an attempt to see how one of his peers was doing. Kelly implied that possibly Boehner was upset over an incident that occurred shortly before the 2010 election, when Congresswoman Giffords came up to him at a restaurant where he was dining with ten others and bluntly told him "You stay out of my district...then turned and waved, and we walked toward the door." This seems completely out of character for her, but if true, no wonder the then Minority Leader would feel uncomfortable and probably a little shocked at her attitude.

Kelly might not have had the complete picture when he wrote the book. Speaker Boehner's communications director told American Thinker, "The Speaker and his staff have been in close contact with Rep. Giffords' staff throughout this difficult ordeal, and the Speaker met with Mr. Kelly in recent weeks about an appropriate memorial for slain staffer Gabe Zimmerman in the Capitol." Sources also noted that the Boehner staff was in touch with Congresswoman Giffords' Chief of Staff within hours of the shooting, attended the Tucson memorial service for Gabriel Zimmerman, and has been in contact with the Giffords' staff throughout the year. The Speaker also met Representative Giffords at the door when she came to the Capitol in August of this year.

Concerning Sarah Palin, most people have heard about her website where she "targeted" Giffords and sent out a twitter message, to "RELOAD!" Since this was his wife it is reasonable that he was angry over the toxic political climate and violent imagery. However, it was very disappointing to read that he only criticized one side. Besides his wife, he pointed out how other Democrats had either received verbal threats or were the targets of violence. His comments about civility would have been much more powerful if he pointed out that not one party, not one group has a monopoly on this issue. There are many examples to draw from: Governor Brewer, a fellow Arizonan, commented in her book, Scorpions for Breakfast, that after signing SB 1070, the bill to limit illegal immigration, she was called "Hitler's daughter and Satan's whore", and received physical threats. The 2004 map from the Democratic Leadership Council listed "target" areas where the "enemy," President George W. Bush, carried a less than ten percent margin of the vote. Sarah Palin was hung in effigy on Halloween in 2008. Everyone would agree with Congresswoman Giffords, who believed that this is a bi-partisan issue, "We have to work out our problems by negotiating, and working together, hopefully Democrats and Republicans...Things have gone a bit over the line. We'll have to figure out a way to pull it back a little."

Readers will find out about Congresswoman's Giffords views on some of the issues, liberals being upset with her strong support for border security while conservatives would not agree with her stand on SB 1070. However, as Governor Brewer (R-AZ) told American Thinker, "I think Gabby was pretty true to what she believed was good for the state of Arizona." Regardless of a person's political affiliation, everyone should be rooting for her to regain a part of her former life, that she will unlock the communication door, and that she will continue to improve, displaying the same humor, comprehension, and winning personality she once had.

Gabby, A Story of Courage and Hope, is a book about the recovery of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, written in large part by her husband, Captain Mark Kelly. On January 8th of this year she was shot in the head while meeting with her constituents in Tucson, Arizona. Twelve others were injured and six were killed in the attack. Gabby, as she is known, has spent the last ten months recovering from her traumatic brain injury, undergoing daily rigorous hours of physical and speech therapy.

The strongest part of the book is when Kelly discusses his relationship with Gabby and her struggle to overcome her injuries. The weakest part is when he inserts his political commentary. The theme of the book is that life can change in an instant. How one minute the Congresswoman was an intelligent, vivacious, animated, athletic individual and the next minute was fighting to regain the ability to communicate, walk, and do everyday chores.

Their love and admiration comes across as he describes her as "beautiful, ambitious, incredibly smart, accomplished, full of fun, a charmer, negotiator, having a great sense of humor, easy to talk with, and a listener." He elegantly noted that currently the brain injury is like a "...hurricane, blowing away some words and phrases, and leaving others almost within reach, but buried deep, under debris or in a different place...coping with a constant frustration...but I can still read her body language. I can still know the nuances of that special smile of hers. She's still contagiously animated and usually upbeat..." They seemed to be like two peas in a pod, both with public service careers and devoted to their families as well as each other.

There were many heart-wrenching scenes in the book. One in particular was when Gabby and her mom went back in time as they used to do during a period of frustration or disappointment and would sing together the words to "Tomorrow;" the message being one of hope and perseverance. They continued this ritual as part of her therapy since singing creates new pathways in the brain to strengthen vocabulary.

Another was the relationship between friends. As her good friends Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla) and Senator Kristen Gilibrand (D-NY) came to visit four days after she was shot, while tearfully talking with her, Gabby opened her eye and used every ounce of energy to give the thumbs up, her first step toward recovery. Kelly constantly points out throughout the book that there are no miracles, just baby steps.

There are lessons to be learned as well for those who never experienced a loved one going through a deliberating injury or disease. He talks of feeling that his "dreams had become completely basic. I spent my days hoping that Gabby would be able to end a sentence with a question mark...She's ninety percent there! And that's more than enough for me. Ninety percent? Gabby, we'll take that!" Instead, there was the reality of "sitting in her wheelchair, tears running down her face. She was hyperventilating, absolutely panicked...She had tried to speak, but she couldn't... In her case, she couldn't find any words at all and she knew it."

Yet, she was still able to understand and relate to her friends and family. How many times have people wished they could have gone back in time and had a second chance with someone? His daughters, Claudia and Claire had those feelings, as they never allowed themselves to get close to their stepmother. The book emphasized that his children are among the lucky ones since they have a second chance to repair the relationship.

An interesting part of the book is when he described his decisions to leave her as she was rehabilitating. He chose to lead the sixteen-day space shuttle mission after his twin brother told him that she would want him to "remain on the mission. You are trained (as a military pilot) to put aside personal issues, to focus on your mission." Although that was understandable what is incomprehensible is when a few days later he decided to go to England on a business trip for five days, missing her birthday: the celebration of life since the shooting. He describes in detail how upset she was with him, which every wife can relate with.

He seems to give himself more slack than he is willing to give two Republicans, Sarah Palin and Speaker Boehner. He was understandably upset with both for not calling or attempting to see the Congresswoman. Speaker Boehner in April of this year came to Houston, where she was rehabilitating, for the NCAA Final Four tournament, but according to Kelly, never made an attempt to see how one of his peers was doing. Kelly implied that possibly Boehner was upset over an incident that occurred shortly before the 2010 election, when Congresswoman Giffords came up to him at a restaurant where he was dining with ten others and bluntly told him "You stay out of my district...then turned and waved, and we walked toward the door." This seems completely out of character for her, but if true, no wonder the then Minority Leader would feel uncomfortable and probably a little shocked at her attitude.

Kelly might not have had the complete picture when he wrote the book. Speaker Boehner's communications director told American Thinker, "The Speaker and his staff have been in close contact with Rep. Giffords' staff throughout this difficult ordeal, and the Speaker met with Mr. Kelly in recent weeks about an appropriate memorial for slain staffer Gabe Zimmerman in the Capitol." Sources also noted that the Boehner staff was in touch with Congresswoman Giffords' Chief of Staff within hours of the shooting, attended the Tucson memorial service for Gabriel Zimmerman, and has been in contact with the Giffords' staff throughout the year. The Speaker also met Representative Giffords at the door when she came to the Capitol in August of this year.

Concerning Sarah Palin, most people have heard about her website where she "targeted" Giffords and sent out a twitter message, to "RELOAD!" Since this was his wife it is reasonable that he was angry over the toxic political climate and violent imagery. However, it was very disappointing to read that he only criticized one side. Besides his wife, he pointed out how other Democrats had either received verbal threats or were the targets of violence. His comments about civility would have been much more powerful if he pointed out that not one party, not one group has a monopoly on this issue. There are many examples to draw from: Governor Brewer, a fellow Arizonan, commented in her book, Scorpions for Breakfast, that after signing SB 1070, the bill to limit illegal immigration, she was called "Hitler's daughter and Satan's whore", and received physical threats. The 2004 map from the Democratic Leadership Council listed "target" areas where the "enemy," President George W. Bush, carried a less than ten percent margin of the vote. Sarah Palin was hung in effigy on Halloween in 2008. Everyone would agree with Congresswoman Giffords, who believed that this is a bi-partisan issue, "We have to work out our problems by negotiating, and working together, hopefully Democrats and Republicans...Things have gone a bit over the line. We'll have to figure out a way to pull it back a little."

Readers will find out about Congresswoman's Giffords views on some of the issues, liberals being upset with her strong support for border security while conservatives would not agree with her stand on SB 1070. However, as Governor Brewer (R-AZ) told American Thinker, "I think Gabby was pretty true to what she believed was good for the state of Arizona." Regardless of a person's political affiliation, everyone should be rooting for her to regain a part of her former life, that she will unlock the communication door, and that she will continue to improve, displaying the same humor, comprehension, and winning personality she once had.

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