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Jerry Lewis Told Me I Was Going to Die

Jerry Lewis Told Me I Was Going to Die

Nonfiction | Essays | Humour
Pub Date: May 6, 2023 
5.5 x 8.5 in | 294 pgs
Trade Paperback: 9781988989624
ePub: 9781988989631


Disability may be his lot, but he decided long-ago not to let it be his fate.

Jerry Lewis Told Me I Was Going To Die is a collection of humorous essays centered on life with a disability. Meant as a wry look at the obstacles faced while growing up in a small town in Northern Ontario.

For many people even the thought of being disabled is a nightmare. Matthew gets that fear. Sitting where he does, in a wheelchair for the past 40 years, he knows first-hand that living with a disability is not easy. But, rather than dwell on his physical impairments, he has chosen to laugh at life’s ridiculousness. Whether it’s his ongoing feud with William Shakespeare, his elevator meet-cutes with famous celebrities, or his love-hate relationship with public transportation, Matthew finds the humour inherent in being disabled.  Filled with determination, hilarity, and even the odd insight, Jerry Lewis Told Me I Was Going to Die is a giant raspberry to the disease that shaped him, but cannot define him.



Reading through Del Papa’s memories, I can almost hear him say, “Picture it. Capreol, 1978.” His unfiltered, touching, sometimes self-deprecating, and often funny-as-heck anecdotes show us how he tenaciously navigates through the many layers of ableism without skipping a rimshot.

Cait Gordon, Co-editor of Nothing Without Us and Nothing Without Us Too

Jerry Lewis Told Me I Was Going To Die, is filled with dark humour and needed perspective on living with disability.

Carousel Magazine


About the Author

Born with spinal muscular atrophy, Matthew Del Papa has been in a wheelchair since the early 1980s. A graduate of Laurentian University (MA Humanities), past president of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild, and currently on the board of directors for Wordstock Sudbury Literary Festival, he has been writing steadily since 2005. An amateur local historian and part-time columnist, his work has been published in newspapers and magazines, as well as anthologies such as Spooky Sudbury (Dundurn Press, 2013) and Nothing Without Us Too (Renaissance Press, 2022). He lives in Capreol. 

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