The Mindful Nonsense of Ricky’s Brain

Non-Fiction - Autobiography
422 Pages
Reviewed on 11/06/2011
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Author Biography

Ricky Tsang came into the world on May 20, 1981, scaring the daylights out of all the pretty nurses when he smiled at them without tears. He’s one of the oldest living individuals with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a “genetic but not hereditary disease” as he likes to say (for fear of sounding contagious), that slowly weakens and deteriorates voluntary muscle strength and mass. He was diagnosed after a muscle biopsy at Sick Kids Hospital when he was seven years old, but only cared about the ice cream his parents had promised.

Born and raised in Hong Kong and eventually becoming a Canadian citizen, this aspiring author, blogger, songwriter, and artist from Ajax, Ontario was wheelchair bound by the age of nine. It was only after losing his ability to draw with his hands that he pursued the literary arts.

As a motorized madman, Ricky isn’t looking to be an inspiration, but instead uses his peculiar sense of humour to find a little ridiculousness in life. He focuses his writing on romance (and comedy) because his lifelong dream is to make every girl throw up. It’s all a part of his evil plan, according to the one who’s writing in third person, of course!

Ricky will continue to write until he finally goes out of print since Duchenne’s is apparently “fatal”, and until then, who knows how many more chicken wings may survive?

    Book Review

Reviewed by Janet Jensen for Readers' Favorite

Ricky Tsang’s book is a journey into a brilliant mind: the reader will find humor (dark/bawdy and/or hilarious), love, tenderness, truth and fantasy within its pages.

Diagnosed with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy at age seven, Ricky has witnessed the gradual wasting of his muscles as a result of this cruel, incurable disease. When he lost the use of his hands, he turned to writing (with the aid of his computer) to express himself. This book is a result of several years of posts on his popular blog.

I enjoyed his original and creative style, and because of his humor and sense of the ridiculous, the reader does not read about his life with pity but with interest and respect. Though many of his essays are philosophical or humorous, an occasional mention of incompetent nurses (on whom he must depend for every physical need) illustrates the fragility of his daily existence. He finds daily support from his dedicated family, of whom he writes with great love and admiration.

He also writes with great tenderness of love, especially romantic love, and criticizes our cultural obsession with beauty; in a series of essays dedicated to women of every nationality and culture, he expounds upon their particular qualities that he finds beautiful and encourages them to celebrate these features, while expressing his great admiration for them.

This is a touching and intriguing book; no one label can describe this multifaceted look into the genius of Ricky Tsang’s mind. I hope he continues to blog and publish, as his is a most original voice.

Brenda C.

"Ridiculous: The Mindful Nonsense of Ricky's Brain" is really not like any other book that I have ever read before. Ricky Tsang was six years old when he started to notice a weakness in his body, and at the age of seven he was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Written in journal style that spans about five years, his book gives the reader an honest close look at how the disease changed his body but not his outlook on life.

I loved this book! The author is a true wordsmith who is able to convey his innermost thoughts in such an expressive way that I felt by the end of the story that I knew Ricky personally. To give an accurate look at his life, the author allows the reader to glimpse not only the highs but also the lows he often feels. The thing is he doesn't dwell on the lows long, instead his positive, upbeat attitude shines through. He has the ability to turn mundane situations into something humorous and memorable. His writings would have me laughing one minute and crying the next. The respect he feels for women and the longing he has to find his special someone was touching. I think his ideas on love and how to treat a lady are wonderful and feel that every man could learn a few things from Mr. Tsang. I really found nothing ridiculous about this book, instead I would call the Mindful Nonsense in Ricky's brain remarkable, because once you read it you are going to be touched by it. Here is a unique man who has allowed the readers a peak at his remarkable journey. Read this story, you wont' regret it!

Bernadette A.

"Ridiculous: The Mindful Nonsense of Ricky’s Brain" by Ricky Tsang is a sometimes humorous and always touching autobiography. Tsang told his friends this book was about everything. That is a fair assessment. Tsang’s dream was to be a cartoonist but when the muscles in his hands stopped cooperating he had to find a different outlet for his artistic talent. He began by writings with a blog. Ricky Tsang has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He lives on a ventilator which inhibits his ability to speak. His reasons for writing will bring a smile to most readers: he wants to make a dent in the world, he wants to make a statement for disabled people, and he wants to “defy the perverse misconceptions that society has brought upon us.” Tsang does not ask for or want the readers sympathy.

One of the chapters of this book that struck me was the first. Ricky begins by sharing how to mend a broken heart. He is very wise in most of his advice. Here are a few samples: “Cut all forms of communication”, “Think logically”, “Don’t give yourself the luxury of self-pity”, and “Let Yourself Cry”. Tsang reminds his readers to look past the wheelchair and into the mind of a disabled person. Too often we see only the outside and forget the intelligent person trapped in a damaged body. I find Tsang’s book interesting and I find him to be very brainy not to mention talented. I enjoyed reading his deepest thoughts and I found the photographs intriguing. It is a wise decision to include them. They bring the reader closer to Tsang. They make his book more intimate. Well done Mr. Tsang.

Alice D.

Author Ricky Tsang has Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy which will shorten his life. Wheel chair confined and on a ventilator, Ricky is one tough dude. He does not want the reader to feel sorry for him and he definitely does not want "Ridiculous" to be another generic story of inspiration by some poor fellow who has suffered. Instead, with the help of family and his nurses, Ricky has written a book filled with short and often very upbeat stories. On page 52, Ricky's sense of humor comes through as he writes, "I am not afraid to die, only from suffocation or in the middle of a poo." He writes of wanting romance and love, of developing myscular dystrophy at an early age and losing his ability to walk when he was nine, but Ricky Tsang is not looking for sympathy unless the sympathy giver is female, young, gorgeous and sexy. Want an upbeat read! "Ridiculous" will fit the bill nicely.

Ricky Tsang has written short stories about himself, his devoted family, dreamed-of love interests, and nurses that behaved badly in caring for him, in this well-written and well-edited book with color pictures of the author at various ages interspersed. He is not afraid to tackle issues such as what really makes a hero and the reader will feel Ricky Tsang's sense of humor and patience with life in every story. The stories were written over a period of five years, from 2006 to 2011, and cover his dreams and his realities. For autobiographies of disabled people, "Ridiculous" is tops.

Jean Brickell

This is an unusual book about a young man who has an amazing stream of consciousness about love and the lack thereof in his life. He has been in a wheelchair since the age of nine and life has not been easy. What seems to bother him most is wanting a woman to love in his life. Ricky suffers from Duchenne Muscular Distropy. The humor is brash, outrageous, and very funny. The book has delightful pictures of him as a small child and later ones of him as a young man. He likes to play up his humor in the pictures. Much of the book is letters to imaginary women who he fancies are his loves. He radiates love to women in all sizes, ethnicity and personality. He composes letters to many different ethnic groups.

This book is full of off the wall humor and gives his journal about wanting a women in his life and feeling the difficulty of this because he suffers a debilitating illness that requires much care and medical treatments. His journal focuses mostly on his quest to find a woman to love and have this love returned to him. His humor keeps the book up beat and downright funny. The photography is great with Ricky as a small boy who has not developed the illness yet and others of him in his wheelchair today. This book is far different from any I have read and I found it very enjoyable.

Anne B.

Ricky Tsang was a mere seven years old when he was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. Obviously it never slowed him down or kept him down. Tsang is an intelligent, maybe brilliant man, trapped in a body that refuses to do what he tells it. He enjoyed art and was gifted with the ability to draw but when his muscles weakened to the point where he could no longer use a pencil he turned his aptitudes to the written word.

The form of Muscular Dystrophy that challenges Ricky is not hereditary. It weakens the muscles and leaves the victim extremely tired and in many ways totally dependent. Most patients do not survive past their early thirties. I hope Ricky lives to be much older; the world would be a much sadder place without his sense of humor.

Ricky Tsang chose to name his book "Ridiculous: The Mindful Nonsense of Ricky's Brain". Even the title is funny. Ricky takes us on a guided tour through the hallways of him brain, offering readers a glimpse of his romantic nature, his dejection and his optimism, his memories and his look at our perceptions. Yes, that’s right, he shines at mirror on our own perceptions. What reaction do you have when you see someone in a wheelchair? Do you rush off? Do you talk to them as if they were unintelligent? Ricky has seen and heard it all. In this book he shares some of his poetry, his thoughts, his reactions, and his life. You just can’t go wrong reading a book like this. I highly recommend picking up a copy today.

Mandy marsh

Best book ever and best author ever xx well done Ricky x