A vividly powerful memoir of a young woman who fought for years to change who she was until she finally found her voice and learned to embrace her imperfection.
Imagine waking up one day to find your words trapped inside your head, leaving you unable to say what you feel, think, want, or need. At the age of seven that happened to Katherine Preston. From that moment, she began battling her stutter and hiding her shame by denying there was anything wrong. Seventeen years later, exhausted and humiliated, she made a life-changing decision: to leave her home in London and spend a year traveling around America meeting hundreds of stutterers, speech therapists, and researchers. What began as a vague search for a cure became a journey that debunked the misconceptions shrouding the condition, and a love story that transformed her conception of what it means to be normal.
Shedding light on an ancient condition that affects approximately 4 million people in the United States and 60 million people worldwide, Preston has assembled an anthology of expertise and experience. In addition to specialists in the field, she interviews celebrities, writers, musicians, social workers, psychologists, and financiers—men and women from all walks of life battling their difficulties with speech. A heartwarming memoir and a journalistic feat, Out With It is more than a chronicle of one of the most prevalent speech problems in the world; it’s a story about understanding yourself, and learning to embrace the voice within.
Imagine being unable to say your own name or speak for longer than a few moments without stuttering. It's an adversity that Preston lives with daily and explores here. Broken into two parts that explore her life growing up in England and her research into the how and why of stuttering in America Preston's book pulses with wit and energy, and the realities of how difficult living with this affliction is painted vividly. She visits therapists who promise a "cure", discusses media portrayals from The Kings Speech to A Fish Called Wanda, and decides to interview researchers and fellow stutterers including actors, musicians, and regular folks to explore the problem academically. In the process she finds love and discovers a community of stutterers, some of whom emphasize their stutter in an attempt to remove the stigma around it. Preston is unflinching and funny; she manages to find a happy balance of education, memoir, and feel-good-factor that few books actually achieve, concluding that it is our "imperfections that ultimately make us beautiful." Never saccharine or pandering, Preston's book is a triumph of telling your story without fear or glossing over the harder to look at details.