Christopher Reeve. Random House Inc, $25 (309pp) ISBN 978-0-679-45235-5
Its poignant jacket--depicting Reeve in his wheelchair, back to the camera, facing a hillside cast in dreamy greens and purples--will by itself propel this book into readers' hands. The words behind the picture are equally potent, however. Reeve has produced a memoir that's outspoken, wise and tremendously moving. The contours of Reeve's career are well known: the meteoric rise in the late 1970s from obscurity to superstardom as Superman; years of celebrity followed by lesser roles and fame; the riding accident that left Reeve a quadriplegic; the comeback through directing HBO's Into the Gloaming; the work on behalf of the disabled and spinal cord research. Reeve covers it all, shuttling back and forth in time, giving just enough detail about his earlier years--including a frank assessment of his parents and upbringing and lightly enjoyable anecdotes of his relationships with Robin Williams, Katharine Hepburn and other luminaries--to background the book's main act: the accident and its aftermath. Writing in a clean, even matter-of-fact style that renders his words all the more devastating for their lack of bathos, Reeve reveals the intimacies of his plight: the confusion and terror as he learned of his situation; a disorienting out-of-body experience in an operating room; the humiliating adjustment to reliance upon others in order to eat, breathe, live; the shift of the center of gravity of his being from self-service to the serving of others. No doubt, Reeve is ""still me""--but readers of his beautifully composed book will see that he is now also more--that through nearly unimaginable suffering and effort, he has transformed a charmed life into one blessed to be a true profile in courage. Photos. 350,000 first printing; first serial to People; simultaneous large-print edition and AudioBook, read by Reeve. (May) FYI: Random placed an embargo on any reviews of Still Me until May 3rd.
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997