cover image Gimp: The Story Behind the Star of Murderball

Gimp: The Story Behind the Star of Murderball

Mark Zupan, Tim Swanson. HarperCollins Publishers, $24.95 (276pp) ISBN 978-0-06-112768-7

""I hate being called handicapped,"" says Zupan, whose competitiveness at quadriplegic rugby brought him national attention as one of the stars of the Oscar-nominated documentary Murderball. A passionate athlete before breaking his neck in an automobile accident when he was 18 years old, Zupan, now 31, is determined to play just as hard as ever from a wheelchair. But with his team's performance in the 2002 Paralympics already covered in the documentary, the sport that made him famous is relegated to a comparatively small portion of this memoir. Instead, Zupan focuses on the slow recovery process after his accident. Refusing to gloss his story, he speaks frankly and humorously about subjects like ""quad sex."" While watching the best friend who caused the accident tear himself apart with guilt, he describes how his own bottled-up frustrations impeded his recovery, leading him to stalk his ex-girlfriend and, years later, to be convicted on a drunk driving charge. As in the film, Zupan makes an unforgettable impression with his raw, brash energy.