John Hendrickson at Harvard Book Store
Life on Delay:
Making Peace with a Stutter
in conversation with ISAAC FITZGERALD
January 20, 2023
7:00 PM ET
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes JOHN HENDRICKSON—senior editor at The Atlantic—for a discussion of his new book Life on Delay: Making Peace with a Stutter. He will be joined in conversation by ISAAC FITZGERALD—New York Times bestselling author of Dirtbag, Massachusetts.
A Return to In-Person Events
Harvard Book Store is excited to be back to in-person programming. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Harvard Book Store events until further notice:
- Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the store. Masks must snugly cover nose and mouth.
About Life on Delay
In the fall of 2019, John Hendrickson wrote a groundbreaking story for The Atlantic about Joe Biden’s decades-long journey with stuttering, as well as his own. The article went viral, reaching readers around the world and altering the course of Hendrickson’s life. Overnight, he was forced to publicly confront an element of himself that still caused him great pain. He soon learned he wasn’t alone with his feelings: strangers who stutter began sending him their own personal stories, something that continues to this day. Now, in this reported memoir, Hendrickson takes us deep inside the mind and heart of a stutterer as he sets out to answer lingering questions about himself and his condition that he was often too afraid to ask.
In Life on Delay, Hendrickson writes candidly about bullying, substance abuse, depression, isolation, and other issues stutterers like him face daily. He explores the intricate family dynamics surrounding his own stutter and revisits key people from his past in unguarded interviews. Readers get an over-the-shoulder view of his childhood; his career as a journalist, which once seemed impossible; and his search for a romantic partner. Along the way, Hendrickson guides us through the evolution of speech therapy, the controversial quest for a “magic pill” to end stuttering, and the burgeoning self-help movement within the stuttering community. Beyond his own experiences, he shares portraits of fellow stutterers who have changed his life, and he writes about a pioneering doctor who is upending the field of speech therapy.
Life on Delay is an indelible account of perseverance, a soulful narrative about not giving up, and a glimpse into the process of making peace with our past and present selves.
Praise for Life on Delay
“Brave, compassionate, and brilliantly observed, Life on Delay is not only one of the most engaging books I’ve ever read on disability, it’s one of the best books I’ve read on becoming a mature, authentic human being in a society that stigmatizes difference.” —Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity
“Life on Delay is both a revelation and an affirmation. The reader gets a vicarious, almost physical sense of what it means to stutter as well as a universal story of family and forgiveness, told with uncommon grace and wit. John Hendrickson is a beautiful writer, a warm companion, and a compassionate observer of what makes us human.” —Jennifer Senior, winner of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Feature writing and author of All Joy and No Fun
“I can’t remember the last time I read a book so human. Life On Delay brims with empathy and honesty. It is a book about family, relationships, and how we come to understand who we are in the world. It moved me in ways that I haven’t experienced before. It’s fantastic.” —Clint Smith, author of How the Word Is Passed
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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