The Villains Who Snapped My Spine: A Memoir - Book Review

The Villains Who Snapped My Spine: A Memoir

Author: A. H. Nazzareno
Genre: Non Fiction - Memoir
Publisher: A. H. Nazzareno
Date Published: July 1, 2022
ISBN-10: 9798218015701
ISBN-13: 9798218015701

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Book Review of :  The Villains Who Snapped My Spine: A Memoir


The Villains Who Snapped My Spine is a memoir by A. H. Nazzareno. He wrote it while he convalesced in a hospital bed recovering from major surgery. Unlike most memoirs, this book does not dwell on sequential past experiences. Instead, the author hints at the medical diagnosis that has him hospital-bound and then uses humor to add flashbacks into his past. Hopefully, he can discover what he has done to cause his present pain. His story is not only hopeful and encouraging but quite humorous, including references to cultural phenomena from the 80s and 90s.

Nazzareno met his wife Michelle while both were in college in Arizona. With frequent references to happy days in Arizona, he uses recollections of those times, picturesque scenes, and climate as pivotal points to tie in his traumatic hospital stay in Boston to his previous life.

Lying in the hospital bed, attached to life-saving machines, and supported by his much-loved wife, Nazzareno has ample time to contemplate his life and the possible causes of his medical crisis. Without initially telling the reader his diagnosis and prognosis, he contemplates his past and tries to determine how he got to this time in his life. He calls the accidents and traumas he experienced “the villains.” There is nothing maudlin or preachy in his reminiscent. He relates his poor auto choices, accidents, and financial difficulties with humor. Was he to blame for his pain?

The author’s writing style is witty and contemporary. To paraphrase, he writes that he will temporarily suppress unemployment anxiety and dream of a perfect life in the desert while “attempting to write a clever, therapeutic memoir” during pandemic-plagued 2020 while on an under-stuffed couch “less comfortable than an old sports coupe seat that mice are slowly dissembling in a New England barn.” 

He includes a fun discourse on making drastic dietary changes from traditional Italian, Irish American pasta, and anything white and junk food to natural nutrition. There was hope that whole foods and cherry juice would help him avoid pharmaceutical dependence. Instead, commercials backed by drug companies promote eating fast, greasy food and taking a pill. “Was it worth it? His back continued to be in agony.

Bouts of medical tests, surgery, and a scary diagnosis do not change the author’s positive attitude or his good-humored writing style. His conclusion is optimistic. To the reader, he leaves a takeaway: “Listening to what your body is telling you could save years of pain and misdiagnosed villains” … “and just live.” 

Reviewed by: Carple W

About A. H. Nazzareno


The author of a candid and witty debut memoir, A.H. is a tumor survivor who mustered up the courage to finally write a book. The first draft of "The Villains Who Snapped My Spine" was furiously penned in a matter of weeks, thanks to the encouragement from a few supportive fans.


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