On the Outside Chance

Peter Mason Chronicles - Book 1

Non-Fiction - Memoir
220 Pages
Reviewed on 02/13/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Life already comes with its own set of challenges without the added complications brought on by disorders like cerebral palsy. On The Outside Chance is based on the true story of Michael J. Mason, Ph.D., who had to overcome some significant hurdles to pave his way through life. The book follows Peter Mason, a young boy who grows up diagnosed with cerebral palsy and struggles to navigate school and home life due to situations he has no control over. Bullied at school and raised by parents who had their share of struggles and flaws, Peter had a hard childhood, losing his beloved aunt and dog at a young age. Additionally, he had to care for his mother, who had Parkinson's, and his father had his own issues. His only outlet to share his feelings with became his therapist, Dr. Gediman.

On The Outside Chance is a remarkable tale of resilience that showcases the indomitable nature of the human spirit and the fierce willpower that enables people to overcome overwhelming challenges. Author Michael J. Mason Ph.D. tells an inspirational story about a boy with cerebral palsy who also had to deal with the usual parental negligence that comes with dysfunctional relationships. It isn't until Peter graduates that he gains a modicum of self-confidence and assurance that he may have a bright future yet. As a reader, you can't help but sympathize with Peter's plight and, to an extent, even relate to his inner conflicts and trauma. A thoroughly riveting book that I highly recommend.

Savannah Aldridge

For anyone who has felt as if they are wrestling with both the world and themselves, The Peter Mason Chronicles is a fantastic companion. On the Outside Chance is the first book in a memoir series by Dr. Michael J. Mason Ph. D. and tells the story of Peter, a teenager growing up in 1960s New York with cerebral palsy. Mobility, family life, and school are already hefty daily challenges for Peter, but life falls deeper into disarray when his mother is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Peter begins psychotherapy, where he finds a confidant in Dr. Gediman. Throughout high school, Peter struggles to process the deterioration of his family while also pursuing a future of adventure, stability, and happiness, despite the many obstacles that stand in his way. Peter travels the world with friends and learns to accept the man he has grown to be. This book includes an interview with the author and previews of the following books in the series.

Dr. Michael J. Mason explores a challenging life in On the Outside Chance. Throughout the memoir, he skillfully examines Peter's internal processes and external experiences, highlighting the moments that matter and bringing the audience along for the trip. This book does not gloss over the hardships of chronic illness. As someone with a chronically-ill mother, I appreciated the honesty in portraying the mental, physical, and emotional suffering that accompanies it. I also valued the vulnerability in Peter’s journey to self-acceptance while facing the limits of mobility with cerebral palsy, and ableism from teachers, classmates, and even well-meaning family. Readers should be advised that profanity, suicidal notions, and sexual encounters are part of this story.

Jessica Barbosa

On the Outside Chance: Peter Mason Chronicles – Book 1 by Michael J. Mason Ph.D. is a memoir based on a true story. Peter Mason knew anger, frustration, and pain. He lived with it every day. Some days were good but most days were not and Peter constantly wondered when everything would just end. Would the pain be his constant companion throughout his life? Read about Peter Mason’s struggles with Cerebral Palsy as he faced the torment inside him and the people around him, and how his experiences shaped him as a person.

The moment I opened this book I was immersed in Peter Mason’s life. The evenly paced and heartbreaking storyline outlined the vivid memories and episodes that make up Peter Mason's thought-provoking journey. The writing style made for an enthralling narrative and the well-written scenes made me feel as if I was watching the story unfold right in front of my eyes. This memoir illuminates the struggles of those suffering from Cerebral Palsy and encourages self-reflection and analysis. The narrative stood out due to its honest depiction of a person’s struggle with a condition that often left them feeling isolated or different from everyone else.

This book opened my eyes to the reality of what people grappling with physical disability face. It did not shy away from the resentment and torment Peter went through every day and it left a powerful message of perseverance that resonated with me. At the heart of the book, there was hope and a desire to emerge victorious against all odds. On the Outside Chance by Michael J. Mason Ph.D. is a worthwhile and life-changing read. I am looking forward to the next installment. Excellent work.