LATEST - 5 Star Reviews from amazon.com *****TOTAL Reviews 26 all 5 Stars
A WARM, ENGAGING MEMOIR ***** After reading Stuart Ross McCallum's Beyond My Control, I felt like I had just finished having a warm, open conversation with a good friend. This very personable author does a wonderful job of taking the reader through his twenty-year struggle with epilepsy.
McCallum's first awareness of epilepsy began with peculiar auras that produced sensations unlike anything he'd ever known. As time went on, these auras became a warning that something much more serious was about to happen. McCallum then began to experience violent frightening episodes that not only threatened his well-being, but those around him. This was all the more terrifying as he could not remember the wild things he would do and say after the episodes had ended. They were, as the title of this memoir indicates, beyond his control.
After much suffering, McCallum is eventually presented with the opportunity to consider seizure surgery -- and to consider the pros and cons of living with the most important decision of his life.
What I most appreciated about this book was the author's deep love and gratitude toward his family and friends, especially his wife, Lisa. What I found extremely valuable in McCallum's story is that I learned much more about the full scope of epilepsy than I ever knew. This was truly a compelling, eye-opening story that was a true pleasure to read. It is an easy and engaging read by a true gentleman.
By Lisette Brodey (author) Los Angeles, California
A Universal Journey ***** As a Marriage and Family Therapist for over 20 years and as a person with a debilitating illness myself, I felt compelled to share my thoughts about this compelling book with other potential readers. Yes, "Beyond My Control" delineates a man's courageous journey with epilepsy and a battle with an eating disorder, but.... it is so much more complex than that. It is a transformational journey that goes beyond these issues. Many of my clients/friends, and colleagues over the years, have struggled with illnesses,anxiety, fear, etc. This book is a universal story that all of us can be inspired by and is motivating for us all to continue to pursue our dreams no matter what our personal battles entail! I laughed and cried and experienced the gamut of human emotions while reading this book and it was very difficult to put it down until I was finished. AND even after reading it I am still haunted by the wonderful way this author expresses his personal thoughts and experiences, his wonderful sense of humour in the midst of very dark times and the testimony of his courage and that of his wife's. Through it all, this marvellous couple never waivered in their love for each other and for their children, in a way that is a testimony to the power of love to transform our daily lives. I wish I could give this book 10 stars, but I hope many more people will read this wonderful book.
By Laura Shultz (USA) Inspirational, Motivational & Life Changing! *****
Stuart Ross McCallum's memoir, Beyond My Control, leaves you with an amazing respect for this man, who endured a lifetime of epilepsy, resulting in symptoms, seizures, surgeries and depression. The detailed description of the auras and seizures really take you into the hell of this disorder. If you think you know about epilepsy, you will find that you didn't know the half of it after reading this book. The scary details of the aftermath when a seizure ended and the deep dark hole that Stuart had to climb out of over and over again. I read this with my jaw ajar in disbelief that this man could accomplish all that he did while fighting this battle. By the time you get to the end of the book, the epilepsy takes a back seat to his strength and courage.
This is a must read for anyone who is battling with epilepsy OR NOT. Stuart Ross McCallum's sheer determination will inspire you to be the very best you can be, in any situation. Brilliantly written!
By C Schuerr (Twin Lakes W I USA)
A Celebration of One Man's Courage!***** With great wealth of spirit, admirable candor, and delightful wit, Stuart McCallum recounts his complex and oftentimes heartbreaking battle with epilepsy. From the very first page I was pulled into Mr. McCallum's life and the complexities of his interior (and sometimes exterior) wars. This wonderful book is far more than Mr. McCallum's autobiographical account of epilepsy; it is a celebration of a man's incredible courage, his honesty, and his eventual triumph. It is also a testament to the strength of family love.
There's so much to admire about this book, and the manner in which it was written is among them. What could have easily segued into a black-and-white medical account of epilepsy became an engrossing, very human story with novel-like qualities. I highly recommend this book, and from front cover to back, it is worthy of five stars.
By Beth Hoffman (Best selling author) - Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
Fascinating ***** Wow! This book is a fascinating read of Stuart McCallum's experience with Epilepsy. I must admit that I knew very little about Epilepsy before reading this book, only that it was a condition causing random seizures. This is such an important book because it documents one man's experience of this very cruel condition which will help others who are going through the same or similar problems, and anyone who has a loved one battling against this condition. On a wider scale, it is also a story of great courage, strength of character, faith and determination. The great thing about this book is that Stuart McCallum is a very ordinary man, he doesn't have any great or mysterious character traits which would set him apart from you or I, and he tells his story in a way that can be understood by everyone. It could be anyone's story; everyone struggles in one way or another in life -- we all have our cross to bear. Stuart's story is valuable as a lesson to us all that the human spirit is capable of facing many adversities and surviving. Most of all it is a message to never give in, and to carry on enjoying life, being grateful for what you have. It is not bogged down in medical detail, but does explain the ins and outs of the condition very well. It is written with humour, showing how this courageous soul was able to come out of life threatening surgery and retain a very positive view of life. I really enjoyed reading the book and congratulate Stuart McCallum on writing such an inspirational book about his journey.
By Maria Savva (London) An Amazing Story about a Courageous Man ***** This autobiographical account of a man's battle with epilepsy is extremely inspiring and uplifting, and is also a captivating read. It is written in a compelling, personal voice that engages the reader from the outset. It is impossible not to have great admiration for this courageous man and to feel deep sympathy for the arduousness of his journey , and yet Stuart McCallum never lapses into mawkishness. His narrative is well-crafted, straightforward, poignant, and effective. I read the book in one setting, and when I had finished I felt like I had traveled a difficult road with a dear friend. I highly recommend this extraordinary story written by a remarkable man!
Riley Carney (Colorado)
Remarkable!***** In his autobiography, Beyond My Control, Stuart Ross McCallum reveals his life by placing it out in the open for the world to view. The good. the bad, and the experiences that he has no recollection of due to his seizures are written in a manner that draws the reader into his world. That world was often frightening, not only to himself, but to those closest to him. Those same people would relay the often violent details of the episodes to him after each seizure had passed, yet they remained loyally by his side. With a family and staff that loved and supported him, he was able to maintain a lucrative business in spite of the physical discomfort, and hardships he endured.
This reader found the book captivating in as much as it was enlightening, yet written on a level that wasn't geared exclusively toward the medical community. That gave it a much more personal touch, making it very relatable to people that have observed others with physical, or medical conditions that are not easily controlled. Clearly, Mr. McCallum is not the type of person to sit back and feel sorry for himself. He aggressively sought medical attention to attempt to control a condition which for many years appeared to be out of the realm of possibility. This survivor spirit ultimately led to making the decision of a lifetime, in spite of not so promising odds.
By candidly sharing his experiences, along with giving tribute to those instrumental in his survival and recovery from delicate brain surgery, Stuart Ross McCallum has endeared himself to this reader. His thoughtfulness to others, his love of family and friends, his consideration to customers, and staff illustrates that in the end, instead of seizures controlling him, he seized control.
I highly recommend the book Beyond My Control by Stuart Ross McCallum.
By KG Cummings (author) Many titles including: The Wind Whispers War PURE READING ENJOYMENT- For everyone who loves life ***** I originally purchased “Beyond My Control,” by Stuart “Ross” McCallum, thinking it would be a casual, yet interesting read. However, once I started reading the first chapter, I literally could not put it down until I had finished the book.
Although the book is a biographical, and at times harrowing tale, of Ross’ struggles to find normalcy within an anomalous world of coping with epilepsy…the story flows with the feeling of a well-organized novel, rather than a dry, retelling of factual events.
Upon finishing his story, the realization that Ross survived his life-struggling ordeal (and lived to write about his experiences in an intellectual, often humorous manner)...is a miracle in itself. His story is more than an account of how Ross and his family, friends, and co-workers dealt with his epileptic episodes; it is also a fascinating look into the often misunderstood side-effects of the illness.
Ross’ story is filled with heartache and hilarity; written in an educational and entertaining manner. “Beyond My Control” is a must-read, not just for the informative aspects of coping with a disabling illness, but more importantly for the pure “reading enjoyment” of his story.
By Dee Marie (author) Sons of Avalon: Merlin's Prophecy
Thanks for Your Story Stuart! ***** McCallum's story is remarkable and completely engrossing. Reading it is much like hearing a good story being told rather than reading it on the page. It was an excellent education for me -- to get the perspective that he communicated. I have no personal experience with epilepsy, but I felt I could relate to his story. It is not an uncommon experience among human beings to find yourself in a situation where you have no control. I think it is an experience we all share, and knowing that helps us all understand and identify with what it means to struggle with epilepsy. He does an amazing job bringing humor into a decidedly not funny situation, at one point, comparing his behavior to John Cleese's character, Bazil Fawlty! His pre-and post-surgery experiences were harrowing, getting through that part is hard to imagine. The short-term and long-term support that he received from other people was truly amazing -- and his story makes it so clear how crucial that support was. I am delighted to have read, Beyond my Control.
By R Owen (Orinda, California)
An Inspirational Journey.***** Epilepsy is a condition I've read personal accounts of in the past, most of which have been vague or difficult to fully grasp; it seems there are few more difficult topics to (successfully) communicate than a neurological disorder and many personal a...more Epilepsy is a condition I've read personal accounts of in the past, most of which have been vague or difficult to fully grasp; it seems there are few more difficult topics to (successfully) communicate than a neurological disorder and many personal accounts end up vague or overly-clinical. This is why Stuart McCallum's book is so incredible.
While reading Beyond My Control, I felt the transcendence of a good book--it was as though I entered another world, a world in which I felt I understood what it was like to be at the mercy of this confounding neurological disorder. Stuart McCallum vividly recalls his life before his diagnosis and the confusion of Epilepsy's onset, but he doesn't cower. In fact, Stuart doesn't spend his pages wallowing in self-pity or asking "why me?" but instead inspires his readers with his courage and strength.
This is a story about one man's battle with Epilepsy, but it is a story for anyone who knows what it feels like to have life uprooted in an instant, who know the shock and helpless feeling of entering the unknown, but who refuse to be defeated by it.
By J.L. Knox "Musical Chairs" (USA) Remarkable ***** Beyond my Control is one the most powerful heart wrenching stories I have been fortunate enough to read. Stuart shares his inner most thoughts with his readers. I truly felt honoured to be on his journey with him. He writes about childhood briefly, his struggle to with anorexia nervosa, and starting and maintaining his stained glass business whilst experiencing 'peculiar sensations'.
My heart ached for him to find a diagnosis, for him to find peace, and sign he was not losing his sanity.
McCallum's easy-going nature and humour are self-evident in the book, even through his frustration and depression, he writes with warmth and the ability to laugh at himself. McCallum documents his journey into depression, although expected, clearly and emotionally with a candid honesty that is refreshing.
Stuart freely allows his feelings to show from his impatience and frustration at being unable to find a true diagnosis, through his scared and shameful reaction to his own behaviour, to his love for his beautiful wife and children. McCallum writes in an almost apologetic tone for the majority of the book. He is ashamed and remorseful of his behaviour, although it was beyond his control.
My overwhelming reaction to the book is one of admiration for McCallum and his family, for being able to live this life and still be strong and loving. Stuart and Lisa, his wife, are both people with incredible strength and dignity. I would definitely recommended this book to anyone who enjoys true life stories, memoirs, or who wants to learn more about what it is like to live with this disease.
It is a truly remarkable book, written by a remarkable gentleman, whom I wish good health and success. By Nikki Crick (Leeds United Kingdonm)
Conqueror's Spirit***** This was a story of hope, love, and strength. The things endured by Stuart were beyond anything that I could ever imagine. Yet, I am encouraged by each day he kept going.
With love and support, Stuart McCallum has lived beyond the struggles and is now here to tell about it.
I hope that other will read this book and know that they too can overcome. By Shalonda "Treasure" Williams
Inspirational ***** What a truly amazing man to have gone through so much! This book is a great inside look at the ups and downs of life with a hidden enemy. To have your mind work against you, torment you, and have you unsure of reality. What a great man you are to continue searching until you had an idea of what you were dealing with and then to continue forward until you had beaten the disease that held you captive.
This is a must read for anyone who is unsure or unaware of what life is like with Epilepsy. I am so happy you fought through this disease and then felt strong enough to share your struggles with all of us.
I loved this book and will recommend to Everyone!
By Lori Newman (Oregon, USA)
Top Seller! ***** August 24, 2009: This is a book about one mans struggle with Epilepsy... I do not have Epilepsy nor do I know anyone personally who does. With that said- The author makes the reader feel, as if they are asking him the questions, and he is simply answering. I intended on reading one chapter. However, that one chapter turned into reading the book in its entirety. Within 6 hours, I had been on an emotional roller coaster ride that will probably stick with me for a lifetime. I felt the book was so good that I passed it on to my mother... normally, she passes them to me. I feel that is the highest compliment, I can offer to this author. 5 stars easily! It will not surprise me at all to find this book among the top sellers list.
By Shelly Griffin WOW!***** I thoroughly enjoyed _Beyond My Control_. It's the memoir of one man's life -- but what a life (!) and what a man (!). I could feel his near-constant fear of living not knowing when the next seizure might happen, especially the post seizure episodes which were completely unpredictable. And yet, Stuart isn't a dark, brooding or bitter man. His humor shines through the pages as does his love, his curiosity and his deep conviction to take care of his family, get healthy and lead a fabulous life.
This is a book about a heavy and potentially devastating topic and yet it is written with love and sweetness so that I feel my eyes have been opened. This book taught me so much. I'll recommend it to everyone.
By Thersa Matsuura (author) A Robe of Feathers- And Other Stories
The Stuggle for a Normal Life***** Beyond my Control - one man's struggle with epilepsy, seizure surgery and beyond, says it all.
Until I read this book, I had no idea that such a condition existed. I knew, of course, about epilepsy, but not that it could take such an aggressive stand. In his book, McCallum shares deeply private moments of his life, battling against this disease. I can only stand back and admire how he and his wife Lisa coped. In spite of the pain, the depression, the uncertainty of every day, and the shame he felt at his unruly behaviour, Ross still comes out with a sense of humour. I had to laugh when he compared himself to Basil Fawlty - a great description, and I could see it all. The one thing I wanted to take up with him was his sense of shame. He should never have felt that. He was not to blame.
I found the book informative. At the end of it, I felt as though I had really learned something important. It could happen to any of us. I was surprised how long it took after surgery for him to get his life back. I can only imagine how devastating it must have been day after day wondering if it had all been worthwhile. I feel privileged that his book Beyond my Control allowed me to share a few moments of his battle
Keep Healthy, Ross, and may you have a long, happy life to make up for the time you've lost.
By Carole Sutton (author) Ferryman TOUCHED - Everyone must read this book! ***** I was very touched to read BeyondmyControl and it just reinforces how many great storytellers have something 'really to say' and therefore are ignored by mainstream establishments. Stuart said it in his novel, better than any other book I have read! Message: Do not be derelict in diagnosing human illnesses or it really could cost an individual their life. Stuart pulled through misdiagnoses and enveloped the ideology of the human experience in positive, responsible and unthinkable ways. This man is truly a winner! His story will save many lives period.
By Carol D Mitchell (author) Rovella Starr and What Happened to Suzy
Inspiration Not Beyond Reach*****
I must in all honesty say, Stuart deserves all the accolades and awards bestowed on him for what he endured all those years of epilepsy, the hurt, the embarrassment and not forgetting the determination to overcome this insidious condition while all this time supported with unwavering love from his family to the man we see today.
This courageous and determined man has written such an inspiring, vivid, factual & true story which will touch the toughest heart, it did mine & I will certainly be recommending Stuart's book to all I talk to. Well done!
By David Delaney (Poet) Rhymes of Times.
Positive Message of Hope *****
I think of a perfect soul, Stuart emits friendship, love and style to those he comes in contact with. Never any negativity or hard feelings towards anyone. I find myself wondering what it would be like to ghost walk into Stuart's gallery with him not knowing I had read his story. A fairytale-Mister Rogers existence. Surrounded by beauty and happiness. Yet, never lasting forever. Stuart emits this persona that sticks to a goal of having a good life through his glass business and also a genuine love of life with his family and loyal friends. Only the seizures get in the way. Nothing else. This is the beauty of Stuart's book. Stuart shows the reader a lesson of what matters in life and why. Nothing else. Anybody suffering should read this amazing, true story, for it's positive message of hope.
By Ginnetta Correli (author) The Lost Episodes of Beatie Scareli
Stuart Breaks Down the Barriers of Neurological Disease ***** Thank you Stuart for sharing your heart wrenching story with us and breaking down the barriers of your neurological disease in your fantastic, must read book, BeyondmyControl. The moment I started reading your book, I could not put it down and I felt I was going through surgery with you! It is interesting to learn how much work is needed in the medical field to diagnose neurological disorders before it tears one's life apart!
Having braved the storm until you met medical competency is a testament to your strength and character, for few could have survived what you went through while holding down a business and family. I am so glad you are alive. You are truly a medical miracle and your incredible story will undoubtedly be a benefit to us all.
Having read BeyondmyControl (twice now), I sincerely feel it belongs at the top of the bestseller list, and in medical journals around the world. You have answered questions that many have been seeking for years about seizures and neurological diseases and the like. Doctors' in training would benefit a great deal by reading this wonderful book. I purchased my second copy today to pass on to friends!
Thanks Stuart for a courageous story of strength, courage and extreme bravery. You truly are my hero and many more!
By Carol Denise Mitchell (author) Many titles incuding: WhatHappenedToSuzy - Second edition
Courageous and Beautiful Writer *****
To share his deeply personal battle and thoughts during his struggles with epilepsy; Stuart managed to keep his sense of humor and strength. His emotional journey is one of the most realistic, detailed trips involving a fight against an illness I was unfamiliar with. I had to read his story twice as we all miss things the first time around. He is a man of determination, yet humble in his battle. The book at the same time is a love story between Stuart, and his wife, Lisa. I believe if not for her strength and love, this book may not be here to educate and give us strength in a battle against medical odds. I experienced sorrow, as well humor in this wonderful book. I recommend "Beyond My Control" to any person battling medical issues, and to any person in need of a little strength. This book is an absolute must read!
Thank you Stuart, for sharing a deep, meaningful, personal journey of strength and love.
By Carol Hawks (author) Its' O/K Eli A Remarkable Story of Courage and Recovery*****
As a teenager Stuart McCallum loved to eat, a habit which resulted in becoming overweight. When the teasing of his peers become more than he could bear, he controlled his overeating to such a point that he was eventually diagnoses with anorexia nervosa. He was even hospitalized for this condition before he manged to reach a more normal state. It was at this point in time that he experienced the first of the many auras which he would suffer thereafter.
He describes the progression of these aura experiences and the development of the full blown case of severe epilepsy. We follow him through the many ways he attempts to control his fits, his ever changing course of medications, doctor appointments, hospitalizations, and finally through his surgeries (temporal lobe lobectomy)and the lengthy recovery period thereafter.
The reader cheers him on as he attempts to live a normal life, marrying his beloved Lisa, bearing two beautiful children, and running a successful business. We can only admire his spirit and courage throughout his life. At the end of this well-written book, one feels that we know this man personally. I would recommend this book, not only to anyone who may suffer this condition, but also anyone who is personally challenged in any other way.
By Alice Rene
Good Health to You, Stuart***** I read the book and I hope Stuart stays well. A great book for any having to deal with Epilepsy. The stark black and white cover is elegant. I think of Stuart Ross McCallum as a warrior, a warrior that by having told his story has offered to help carry the load of any walking this same difficult road. Often he mentions his family and the help it was knowing they were there for him.
The book is on my desk, I see Stuart's face every day. I think...when I see his face. I think...