by Sarah Ruhl
An extraordinary memoir about what it means to be a writer, a woman and a mother with Bell's Palsy by award-winning playwright
The extraordinary story of one woman's ten-year medical and metaphysical odyssey that brought her physical, creative, emotional, and spiritual healing, by a MacArthur genius and two-time Pulitzer finalist.
With a play opening on Broadway, and every reason to smile, Sarah Ruhl has just survived a high-risk pregnancy when she discovers the left side of her face is completely paralyzed. She is assured that ninety percent of Bell's palsy patients see spontaneous improvement and experience a full recovery... But Sarah is in the unlucky ten percent. And for a woman, wife, mother, and artist working in theatre, the paralysis and the disconnect between the interior and exterior brings significant and specific challenges. So Ruhl begins an intense decade-long search for a cure while simultaneously grappling with the reality of her new face - one that, while recognizably her own - is incapable of accurately communicating feelings or intentions.
In a series of piercing, witty, and lucid meditations, Ruhl chronicles her journey as a patient, wife, mother, and artist. She explores the struggle of a body yearning to match its inner landscape, the pain of postpartum depression, the story of a marriage, being a playwright and working mother to three small children, and the desire for a resilient spiritual life in the face of illness.
Brimming with insight, humility, and levity, Smile is a triumph by one of America's leading playwrights. It is an intimate examination of loss and reconciliation, and above all else, the importance of perseverance and hope in the face of adversity.
Page Count: 224 Pages
Imprint: Bodley Head
Published: Jan 2022