Me and My Backbone

- autobiography, County Clare, rural Ireland, spina bifida

Me and My Backbone

Siobhán Mungovan with Carol Byrne

This book tells the amazing story of a young woman from County Clare, Ireland who was born with Spina Bifida but who believes one should face life with a smile. It details her life growing up in rural Ireland and the many challenges she faced and still faces today to ensure she has full participation in Irish society. It is a heart warming story.

My Thoughts

I heard about this book on local radio (podcast link below).

Siobhán was born with spina bifida – something her parents knew nothing about and were completely unprepared for back in 1986. They were told their daughter would never walk, would be brain damaged and would need round-the-clock care. This is Siobhán’s story – from her birth to today, where as an independent twenty-eight-year-old woman she is living in her own house, working in the local council offices and getting around on her own two legs. It has been a tough life with many obstacles and operations, but it has also been one full of love, with much laughter and living life in the now. Siobhán has had many knock-backs, but each time she has found a way through to face the next challenge – with the support of her incredible parents, her two brothers and some great friends.

This book documents the struggles and the operations, but is in no way a pity-me-book or a turgid medical read. It is about life and living it the best way you can in your circumstances. It is about life in rural Ireland. It is about family (and the indomitable Irish mammy!). It is about growing up with a disability, and about how families adapt as they need to.

This is Siobhán’s story, very ably put on paper by Carol Byrne, a journalist for a local paper. Carol has done a wonderful job of bringing Siobhán’s words to life and allowing Siobhán’s voice to speak her own story. Humour regularly shines through, and if you listen to the podcast you will be able to tell that it is Siobhán’s own humour.

It is a short book – 200 well-spaced pages. I read it in one sitting over a few hours. I’m glad I picked it off the shelf at Byrnes in Galway.

Editorial Input & Design

The foreword has a fair few typos and punctuation problems and doesn’t appear to have been proofread. The rest of the book, however, is editorially pretty sound, with few errors.

Cover: Professionally designed with an uplifting image that also has some relevance to the story. Lovely.

Internal design: Well set with fairly large type and 1.5 line spacing.

Book Clubs & Reviews

Probably a little short and with too few strands to keep discussion going, but it could generate some interesting discussion.

Buy & Author

Published by Bookhub, Athenry, Galway, Ireland.

Available from:

Bookhub (€12.99 + €3.50 p&p Ireland / €5.50 p&p UK)

O’Mahony’s, Ennis (€12.99 + €2.50 p&p Ireland / €6.99 p&p UK)

Amazon (Kindle £5.94/$8.99)

Local bookshops (County Clare, Ireland), and national distribution any time now

Follow the author:

Twitter Siobhán @Siobhain3007, Carol @Carlsburn


Links of interest:

Clare FM Podcast

Clare Champion Interview with Siobhan Mungovan

The Journal Opinion: They said I would never walk ‒ but I proved them wrong

The Limerick Leader Interview with Siobhan Mungovan and Carol Byrne

Over to You – Comment and Share!

  • Lorna says:

    Sounds a good read. I always like books that have some humour coming through the gritty stuff.

    I made that mistake with my book – didn’t get the preface proofread by a professional, nearly cried when I saw a typo on the first page of the first print run!
    Putting that on my TBR list :)

    20 Feb 2015 11:26:49

  • Clare says:

    Thanks for calling by, Lorna. I think you’d enjoy reading this book. Clare FM’s podcast is well worth a listen, too.

    20 Feb 2015 21:55:18

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