No Laughing Matter (book)

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No Laughing Matter
NoLaughingMatter.jpg
First edition
Author Joseph Heller & Speed Vogel
Country United States
Language English
Genre Autobiography
Publisher G. P. Putnam's Sons
Publication date
1986
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 335 pp
ISBN 978-0-7432-4717-7
OCLC 57666812

No Laughing Matter is a 1986 book co-authored by Joseph Heller and Speed Vogel.

History[edit]

On Sunday, December 13, 1981, Heller was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a debilitating syndrome that was to leave him temporarily paralyzed.[1] He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of Mount Sinai Medical Hospital the same day (Heller 1986, pp. 23–34), and remained there, bedridden, until his condition had improved enough to permit his transfer to the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, which occurred on January 26, 1982 (Heller 1986, pp. 170–174).

The book reveals the assistance and companionship Heller received during this period from a laundry list of his prominent friends—Mel Brooks, Mario Puzo, Dustin Hoffman and George Mandel among them.[2]

Heller eventually made a substantial recovery. In 1984, he divorced his wife of 35 years, Shirley, to marry Valerie Humphries, the nurse who had helped him to recover.[2]

Speed Vogel writes of helping Heller, his friend for twenty years, through his rehabilitation. The pair write alternating chapters, which amusingly chronicle Vogel's rise through society as he stands in for Heller, even traveling to the Cannes Film Festival, while at the same time Heller is becoming more helpless.

Although Heller's disease is debilitating, the book is full of humor and never self-pitying. Heller's only lament is letting an insurance policy lapse, resulting in his out-of-pocket expenses of $120,000 in medical costs.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1999 Year in Review: Joseph Heller (– Scholar search), CNN, December 1999, archived from the original on 2007-06-03, retrieved 2007-08-30 [dead link]
  2. ^ a b Kisor, Henry (December 14, 1999), "Soaring satirist" (– Scholar search), Chicago Sun-Times, retrieved 2007-08-30 [dead link][dead link]