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Who Am I?


Who I Am by William Hose Kempner - Summary

"Who I Am" by William Hose Kempner is a poignant memoir that delves into the life of Bill Kempner following his diagnosis with ALS. Written on September 9, 2005, Kempner shares his innermost thoughts, struggles, and the peculiar humor he finds in his daily challenges. The memoir stands as a testament to Kempner's resilience and his endeavor to live with peace and contentment in the face of a debilitating disease.

Key Themes

  • Resilience in Adversity: Kempner's narrative is a powerful reflection on facing life's toughest challenges with resilience. Despite ALS's profound impact on his physical capabilities, he maintains a spirited outlook, finding humor and lightness in moments of struggle.

  • Search for Peace: Moving to a new place brought Kempner a sense of peace and contentment he hadn't experienced before. This change underscores the importance of environment and space in finding personal solace and happiness.

  • Adaptation and Communication: As ALS progresses, Kempner navigates the loss of his ability to speak and perform everyday tasks. His journey highlights the importance of adaptation, from writing down thoughts to using a communication device, illustrating the human spirit's capacity to find solutions in the face of adversity.

  • Finding Positivity: Despite the disease's negative aspects, Kempner emphasizes finding positive angles in his condition. This perspective shift is a crucial lesson in facing life's challenges with grace and optimism.


"Who I Am" is more than just a memoir about living with ALS; it's a reflection on life, resilience, and the human capacity to find humor and positivity in the darkest times. Bill Kempner's story is a moving reminder of the strength found in vulnerability and the importance of perspective in overcoming life's hurdles.