Shane Burcaw’s third novel is simply his best to date. This collection of personal essays is genuinely funny, informative, sweet, and intelligent. I loved being more educated about Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and thought Burcaw’s writing style and personality have become significantly more fleshed out and witty. Reading Strangers Assume My Girlfriend Is My Nurse feels like sitting next to a friend who is recounting their life to you.
This novel moves along at a brisk pace, and I finished it in a couple of sittings. Reading about Shane and his girlfriend Hannah’s relationship was touching and hilarious, and Burcaw’s brave and unfiltered descriptions about his disability, career, sex life, etc., were described beautifully and succinctly while being accessible for the reader. I also noticed a major change in his viewpoints about mental disabilities in this novel, which was a welcome addition. My only complaint about this book was the fact that some stories are told exactly how they were in his previous novel, Laughing at My Nightmare. It became a little tedious to read these anecdotes for a second time, but that’s mostly a quibble on my part.
Overall, this is a refreshing, hilarious, yet informative memoir about living with SMA and staying strong in the face of adversity. Burcaw is a talented writer who seamlessly pulls the reader into his world and makes them feel like a friend. Pick this up if you love his YouTube channel or are looking to learn more about SMA.