Laughing at My Nightmare

by Shane Burcaw
Grade 9-12


With acerbic wit and a hilarious voice, Shane Burcaw’s Laughing at My Nightmare describes the challenges he faces as a twenty-one-year-old with spinal muscular atrophy. From awkward handshakes to having a girlfriend and everything in between, Shane handles his situation with humor and a you-only-live-once perspective on life. While he does talk about everyday issues that are relatable to teens, he also offers an eye-opening perspective on what it is like to have a life threatening disease.

Discussion questions from SOMN

  • What are some of the themes of Laughing at My Nightmare?
  • What things do you have in common with Shane?
  • What are some of Shane’s strengths?
  • How does Shane use humor to tell his story and educate others? What do you think about this approach? What part of the book did you find most humorous?

Classroom activities from SOMN