Welcome to Biscuit Land
Foreword by Stephen Fry
“It is the hippies of outrageous fortune that weigh heavy on the minds of dogs.”
Meet Jess, aka Touretteshero. Jess has Tourettes Syndrome, which means she makes sounds and movements over which she has no control. Jess swears – she’s one of about ten percent of people with Tourettes who do. She also says ‘biscuit’ a lot, about 16 times per minute (that’s 6 million a year!), and then there are the sometimes life-threatening arm and leg tics…
Tourettes can be tough to live with, often bringing out unpleasant behaviour in people who don’t understand it, but it can also be inspiring and above all, funny. Jess’s verbal tics are often truly surreal – “Leisurewear Velociraptor Training Party!” or “Capital letters talk to themselves at night,” or “If all the hoofed animals could count there wouldn’t be a banking crisis.”
These excerpts from Jess’s personal blog follow a year in her life and the whole spectrum of her experiences. We’re introduced to her support network of close friends including Fat Sister, Leftwing Idiot and King Russell, as well as strangers who can be unpredictably helpful or hurtful.
Moving, funny, shocking, tender, and inspiring, Jess’s words are courageous and optimistic in the face of the major challenges she faces. Welcome to Biscuit Land.
Jess has written for the Guardian on disability issues, been featured in their magazine, and appeared in many TV and radio programmes. She was one of the most engaging contributors to Stephen Fry’s Planet Word.
In 2010 Jess set up Touretteshero, an organisation that celebrates the humour and creativity of Tourettes without mocking or self-pity – it’s about reclaiming the most frequently misunderstood syndrome on the planet and changing the world one tic at a time. Visit the Touretteshero website HERE and continue the journey.
A ‘bleep free’ version of Jess’s Radio 4 Interview with James Naughtie 19th April 2012 HERE
And currently on the BBC News site, as part of their What Does Freedom Look Like? series, Jess explains how her wheelchair opened up new worlds for her, giving her a freedom she craved.
“My wheelchair and my tics are not the things that disable me. The thing that disables me is the inaccessible environment.”
You can read her amazing blog: HERE
Praise for Welcome to Biscuit Land:
“A role model for people across the country struggling to come to terms with the condition… Welcome to Biscuit Land has become an invaluable resource for families coping with Tourette’s.”
“An insider’s guide to having Tourette’s syndrome.”
“Can you imagine blurting out swear words and nonsensical phrases involuntarily in public… Tourette’s sufferer Jessica Thom has had to deal with all this and more since she was a child. Her struggle with this much misunderstood condition forms the focus of a moving, year-long diary.”
“Thom (focuses) on the playfulness and creativity that the condition can foster.”
“Teaching the world about Tourette’s… celebrate the creativity and humour.”
“She writes quite brilliantly about her daily challenges, whilst celebrating the creativity and some of the humour of the condition.”
‘Woman’s Hour’, BBC Radio 4
“Both funny and poignant and provides a fascinating insight into the life of a person with Tourettes Syndrome.”
“Touretteshero is about sharing that humour with everyone to challenge misconceptions about Tourette’s.”
“Her love-hate relationship with the disabling disorder Tourettes syndrome.”
“An innovative way of challenging people’s perceptions of a famously controversial and misunderstood disability… The book is made especially readable because of Jessica’s affable and eloquent writing style, and her open and generous character.”
‘Ham & High’
“What it’s like to have ‘a barn dance in your head’.”
“A heartfelt anthology of short musings and anecdotes that can be funny, absurd and even infuriating and sad… Jessica Thom is a unique person and Welcome to Biscuit Land is, above all, a fun and uplifting read.”
“Jessica has with great wit and charm completely overturned my thinking about Tourette’s syndrome, and those whose lives are affected by it… Jess is an amazing narrator, she calls it as she sees it with language which is at times rich and colourful, but ultimately what shines through is Jess’s personality.”
“Moving, funny, shocking, tender, and inspiring, Jess’s words are courageous and optimistic in the face of the major challenges she faces.”
‘The Rose Petal’