PUBLICATION DATE 13th June 2017 ISBN: 9781785898631 Price: £8.99.  For a limited time only, the cover price of the book (£8.99) includes free P&P to UK addresses.  For international enquiries, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Gary Skyner reveals what it is really like to be born as a thalidomide child in his brutally honest memoir

Writing with Carol Fenlon, Liverpool comedian Gary Skyner reflects back on his life as a thalidomide child in his autobiography You Can’t, You Won’t: A Life of Unarmed Combat. He was born in 1959 with severe physical disabilities after his mother was prescribed the thalidomide drug to combat morning sickness during pregnancy. As one of the earliest thalidomide children born in the UK, his life was destined to be difficult and challenging as the drug impaired his physical development. Expected not to live, let alone to achieve much, Gary is living proof that there is nothing you cannot achieve if you believe you can. “Despite being told to expect a poor quality of life, I defied all the odds,” commented Gary. This memoir explores how Gary turned his life around and became a popular and successful comedian and motivational speaker.

Born with foreshortened arms in the Toxteth area of 1950’s Liverpool, this autobiography explores how Gary had to deal with his parents’ marital breakdown and his difficult relationship with his father – all caused, in Gary’s eyes, by the strains of raising a disabled child. In addition to his troubles at home, Gary’s tears turned to anger as he became aware of the government’s reluctance to make provision for thalidomide victims, leading him to become active in campaigns in order to shame them into proper negotiation.

Gary’s autobiography also explores how his dreams came crashing down on him due to his limitations as a thalidomide child. As a lifelong Liverpool FC supporter, he always wants to be a star player, but he soon realised he had to accept his limitations. Working first as a telephone operator, Gary later became a welder, a housing officer and then a trained paralegal. Despite his difficult life, this memoir also explores the happier periods times, including having two daughters and his comic and motivational speaking career. There has never been a dull moment in his life and this autobiography explores Gary’s belief that life should be spiced with jokes and laughter. 

“I will never rest in trying to voice the truth about what thalidomide families have endured and still have to face; it is a story that needs to be told.” commented Gary.