The Bookworm Sez: “Hot Cripple” by Hogan Gorman

Hot Cripplec.2012, Perigee $16.00 / $18.50 Canada 272 pages

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

It seemed kind of silly at the time.

You were expected to pay for something every month – something you might never need or use – and you were supposed to do it over and over. Maybe until you die.

The idea was preposterous – until you needed that insurance the first time. Then, the monthly premium almost seemed like a privilege.

But what if you don’t have insurance?  Do you risk catastrophe, bad weather, clumsiness, accident, loss, or sickness?

Author Hogan Gorman didn’t have much choice. She couldn’t afford health insurance on a waitress’s salary, but as you’ll see in her new book Hot Crippleir?t=smorga 20&l=as2&o=1&a=0399537287,” she paid anyhow.

Hogan Gorman was a “slasher.”  That is, she was an actress-slash-waitress and the latter paid the bills, though not very well. Because of her meager paychecks, Gorman sidestepped something that any healthy, athletic young woman might likewise forego: she didn’t have health insurance.

And she might’ve been just fine without it if, on her way to work one late afternoon in March 2004, she hadn’t been hit by a car traveling 40mph, backwards, on a one-way street in Manhattan.

Gorman remembers what happened. She careened through the air – twice. Took out the rear windshield with her head. Compressed several vertebrae. Hurt her knee. Received a brain injury that took months to heal.

When she went to the ER after the accident, she was treated with an OTC painkiller and sent home. No insurance, no hospitalization.

She received some care through New York’s no-fault law but it didn’t last long enough to heal her injuries. No insurance, no intensive treatment.

She went without medicine. No insurance, no prescriptions.

In the meantime, Hogan sold her clothes and applied for welfare and Medicaid. Food stamps gave her just under $5 a day to eat. She lost her job and a budding relationship, her dignity, several friends, everything in her banking account, her short-term memory, and all the room on her credit cards.

Once upon a time, before all this happened, Gorman asked the Universe for a change in her life. She was tired of waitressing, and she wanted something new.

But this change was not what she had in mind…

With a title like “Hot Cripple,” I can see where you might be a little confused. Is this book sad, maudlin, humorous, or — something else?

It’s humorous. Trust me, it’s very humorous.

Author Hogan Gorman sustained losses in that accident some eight years ago, but she never lost her sense of humor. This book starts out smart-aleck hilarious and ends up sweetly hilarious, and despite the horror of what happened and a few wrenching moments of despair, Gorman keeps us laughing in between.  This is a feisty, gutsy, sassy story with ending words that are well-chosen and that will hit home for many readers.

Be aware that there’s an overload of profanity in these here pages, but understand that every word fits.  If you want to ensure a good couple days of reading, in fact, “Hot Cripple” is what you need.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books. For more information, visit


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