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A profound, powerful narrative of a golden boy’s tragedy, a brother’s devotion and a woman’s complicated dilemma…

March 18, 1997 began like any normal day in the working class suburb of Warminster in southeastern Pennsylvania. Rosemarie Miley had just finished two loads of laundry when her youngest son, Jimmy, arrived to take her quadriplegic son, Buddy, to an appointment that morning with an eye doctor. Instead, the brothers drove to Philadelphia International Airport, boarded a plane to Detroit and checked in at a nondescript Quality Inn, where Jimmy delivered Buddy into the hands of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the controversial "Suicide Doctor." There, Buddy and Jimmy ended a journey that had begun when they were boys - a remarkable story of devotion between two brothers thrust into extraordinary circumstances.

Like Any Normal Day centers on Buddy Miley, who in the fall of 1973 had been a star quarterback on his high school football team, when he shattered his vertebrae in a game. In the 23 1/2 years that followed, as his friends went off and had families of their own, Buddy remained at home under the care of his mother, who saw to his every need even as her own body began to break down. With the aid of Jimmy, a former pro baseball prospect for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Buddy set out on a quixotic search for a cure that included visits to specialists, and even a trip to the healing shrine at Lourdes. Steeped in longing for his high school sweetheart, Karen, with whom he had fallen in love at the hospital during the early days of his ordeal and who stayed in touch with him even as she moved away and married, Buddy envisioned a day when he would sweep her up into his arms and live the life they had been denied.

Beautifully written, both heart-wrenching and hopeful, Like Any Normal Day explores the enduring bond between brothers and the claims that duty places upon each of us in the wake of a catastrophic event. Ultimately, it asks the universal question: What would you do for someone you love?" The answers to that question are complex, and unforgettably explored in this book.

 

Praise for Like Any Normal Day

"Like Any Normal Day looks piercingly beyond the moment when the lights dim and the crowds go home in any young athlete's life. Kram's acuity and sympathies stretch far beyond his sportswriter's practiced gaze -- indeed, all the way to the realm of literature. It is not a happy story he has to tell us. But it seems to me -- perhaps for that very reason -- it is an essential and cautionary one.

–Richard Ford
Author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Independence Day.

"There is nothing normal about Like Any Normal Day. In the spirit of his late father, Mark Kram Jr. has stripped away the mythology and stereotypes of the sporting world and found something deeper, the complicated truth of a profound and haunting story."

–David Maraniss
Author of When Pride Still Mattered

"Mark Kram, Jr. has always been among the nation's very finest newspaper feature writers, and now his book, Like Any Normal Day, exhibits the same superb craft. It is a story that is so sad, yet so filled with every variation of the sweetest love, wonderfully, lovingly told. Kram has drawn the people in it so well that they and the scenes they inhabit will long stay in your memory."

–Frank Deford
Author of Everybody's All-American

"Like Any Normal Day is both extraordinary and unexpected. It's about more than the famously ruthless mercies applied by Dr. Kevorkian. Itís an intimate family history. As constructed by Mark Kram Jr., the narrative begins with a high school football game and drives to that place separating bravery and compassion, longing and love. Kram is an expert reporter, sure, but his beat might well be the human soul."

–Mark Kriegel
Author of the Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich and Namath

"Like Any Normal Day is anything but normal. It's heart-breaking and heart-warming, a compelling story of brothers, love, tragedy and sports. Mark Kram Jr. takes us on a raw emotional journey that turns into a riveting American story."

–Christine Brennan
USA Today columnist, ABC News and NPR commentator, author of Best Seat in the House

"Read this book and Buddy Miley will become part of your life. He will be there every time you see anyone in a wheelchair. He will be there every time the announcer says someone is hurt, lying on a football field and not moving. He will be there every time you think twice about whatever problem is kicking your behind on a particular day, a reminder that things could be worse. Read this book and...just read this book. Terrific."
--Leigh Montville, author of The Big Bam and Evel: The High-Flying Life of Evel Knievel

KIRKUS REVIEWS (STAR)
"Kram deftly reveals the intimate details of the story, and he delves into the complex and troubled Miley family dynamics with a skilled reporter's eye.
A heartbreaking story of love and dedication told with remarkable compassion and literary skill."

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"Philadelphia sportswriter Kram elegantly tells a poignant and sad tale of struggle, loss and love that illustrates both how quickly life can change and how deep our bonds to our families grow through times of crisis."

BOOKLIST
"With a reporter's eye for detail and character, Kram takes what could have been a relentlessly depressing story and turns it into one that is equal parts hope and triumph. A potentially controversial book - assisted suicide being a perennially hot-button issue - it is genuinely inspiring."