Chapter 9- Love as a Medicine

This chapter is focused on Katherine’s relationship with Jeremy, himself a stutterer.  They had met in Chicago while she was there interviewing people for her book.  He was an alumnus of a regimented speech therapy program and she was an open stutterer.  She found herself drawn to him, but after attaining his phone number, she never got up the courage to call him.  Two months later, he called her and asked if she would like to interview him in Chicago.  She spent a week with him in Chicago, and in between interviews with other stuttering people, she spent time with him.  She felt such a strong bond growing between them that she invited him to go on a cross country journey with her as she completed some interviews for the book.  He agreed, and their relationship took off.

I found it interesting that Katherine had met only one other stuttering couple.  I would have thought that more people who stutter would have found solace in being with another who understood their struggles.  However, as Katherine said, being with Jeremy was like coming face to face with her stutter every day.  She not only felt the tension and exhaustion caused by her own stutters, but also felt them when Jeremy stuttered, as well.  Katherine questioned Jeremy if her stutter made him feel uncomfortable, as she chose to stutter openly, and he followed a speech program.  He said that, yes, at first he was caught off guard that someone so beautiful with so much going for her would choose to openly stutter, but that now, he sees that it is just who she is.  Katherine herself begins to fall in love with Jeremy, and she realizes that if she can love someone who stutters so completely, then surely she can do the same for herself.

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8 thoughts on “Chapter 9- Love as a Medicine

  1. Katie Cohen says:

    I really like the part in the chapter when Jeremy invites Katherine to read together with him in the company of his family during a Jewish tradition. It’s such an unexpected and sweet gesture.

  2. Lauren Gillenwater says:

    I agree. When I try to put myself in Katherine’s or Jeremy’s shoes, I think it would take great courage and self-compassion to be myself and reflect that to those around me. The way stuttering would make it difficult to share and bond with others would make me appreciate the relationship even more. This chapter captures the compassion of both Katherine and Jeremy.

  3. Kimberly A. Raho says:

    I was also surprised because I would think like experiences would bring a lot of people together. Stuttering is such a complex and still enigmatic “thing” that I would think that many people would seek others “in the same boat”. It sounded like it was both good and bad for Katherine. But mostly good. When they were having their Jewish ceremony and both were nervous, Jeremy knew that you didn’t stutter in unison and asked to say it together. Most would not know or think of that beforehand.

  4. Becky Trzupek says:

    This chapter also made me think a lot about the relationships between people who stutter. As you said, I would think people who stutter would be drawn to each other and seek comfort. When she made the point that she felt the exhaustion and tension from both their stutters, it made me realize why it may not always be comforting to be around someone that struggles in a similar way to you. It is also interesting how they both took different views of handling their stutter. It is just another example of how individualized stuttering is, and therefore highlights that there is no exact formula for therapy with a person who stutters. We have to get to know our kiddos and make a plan for them that best fits how they feel towards their own stutter. Not difficult at all…. 🙂

  5. Erica Hayes says:

    It does seem that Katherine and Jeremy benefit from having a relationship with another stutterer. I can see how comforting it would be for your spouse to have lived through similar situations and have some of the same daily fears and stresses as yourself. Katherine makes it clear though that it adds stress when you have to also worry about your partners fluency. It would truly depend on the people involved if this would be a positive or negative dynamic. It is a very interesting situation that I had never really considered!

  6. Sarah Crady says:

    It was interesting to read about Katherine and Jeremy’s relationship. Like others have shared I assumed having stuttering in common would be beneficial for a romantic relationship. I hadn’t considered the added stress that thinking about your partner’s speech- and knowing exactly how difficult it may be for them could be exhausting.

  7. Kristin Jansen says:

    Becky, I also found it interesting the way Katherine and Jeremy handle their stuttering moments differently. I haven’t had too many students with significant stuttering concerns, however, with the ones I have had, I’m realizing I tend to utilize similar therapy approaches with each. This moment in the book made me reflect on individual differences among people who stutter and, therefore, specific individualized approaches would be best in therapy. I felt happy Katherine and Jeremy made a connection in their lives. The moment they read together during the family dinner was one of my favorite parts of the book!

  8. Lindsay Manis says:

    The fact that she felt exhausted when the time two of them were together and how she internalized his stress from stuttering etc. I guess like everyone has said, initially you would think it would be easier when they are together and they could find comfort, but I guess that’s not always the case. I think about how people use the token phrases of “opposites attract”. I cannot imagine dealing with my spouse if we had the same struggles (non stuttering related), I can imagine that would play a huge emotional toll on our relationship. Sometimes it is more important to just have balance.

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