Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
A family album of photographs was the stimulus for this book which shares many of the images and tells the life story of the author’s great uncle, Mace Bugen, who really must have been the first photobomber! Learning about his life and seeing him with all the different celebrities through the ages, this is a story of making the most of life’s opportunities and living life to the full regardless of what others then thought of as a handicap. This is a real life, inspirational family story where love, resilience and determination helped Mace Bugen become the hero he always wanted to be – a celebrity in his own right.
I requested and was given a copy of this book. This is my honest review of the book after choosing to read it and look at the photographs within it.
Mace 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 Bugen, I 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, Muhammed Ali, Richard Nixon, Jane Russel, Joe DiMaggio and more.
Author 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.
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Giveaway to Win a paperback copy of The Little Gate-Crasher (Open to US & Canada only) – enter at http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494126/?
*Terms and Conditions –USA / Canada entries welcome. 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 the organisers 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 passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time they will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
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Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for providing materials for this post and organising the associated tour. The review is my own, honest opinion after enjoying reading a copy of this book.