Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Collins Tuohy Book Signing Review! @MIHFoundation @Austinpeay

 So Monday night I got a chance to see a talk and book signing by Collins Tuohy, sister of Michael Oher who was immortalized in the movie The Blind Side.  It was sponsored by the Austin Peay Govs Programming Council and held in the Clement Auditorium. When I first got there I was wondering how if it would be weird seeing someone that you were first introduced to by some actress playing her in a movie. You know what if she's not as great as she was in the movie. But from the moment she walked onstage and started talking the energy was amazing! She brought a warmth and vitality onto the stage but made all of us feel at home with her just as if we were sitting with her in a sitting room or kitchen table.

So overall this event was way awesome and there are a million great things that I could say about it but for the sake of space let's stick to my top five.

#1 Family Gossip

I had fallen in love with the Tuohy family ever since I saw the movie. So when Collins opened up by telling us what all of the family was doing now it was like we had known them their whole lives. And it wasn't just a brief little intro to the family it was jam packed with funny stories and all the fun stuff that makes them feel like a real family.

#2 Fact vs. Movie Fiction

Collins also set us straight on what parts of the movie were true and which weren't. She was very quick to point out that everything was put in for a purpose to drive the message home and that mostly the silly little unimportant things didn't make it into the movie. An example would be that Collins never played volleyball ever but they changed it to make it easier to film. You know those little things that just make filming easier but don't take away from the story.

#3 A Funny Story

You'll have to find a way to get to Collin's next speaking engagement near you or find a video on Youtube talking about how Collins' mom, the real Mrs. Tuohy, took actress Sandra Bullock around doing errands all over Memphis and finally convince her to do the role. Before that Bullock didn't even want to take it on. I cannot tell the story here and do justice to the way Collins had us rolling in the aisles telling it. You'll just have to hear it for yourself.

#4 A Heart Warming Message

Something that you really see in the movie that you don't get full force until you meet Collins and hear her speak about the family is the brilliant message about placing a great value on people that you've never even met yet. One of the inaccuracies in the film she was determined to point out is that they didn't meet Michael walking down the road. In fact she goes on to point out that on the road he would be walking on a boy like Michael would have "stood out like a sore thumb" but all the people driving by didn't even notice him. But the Tuohy's first met him by paying for his meal plan in school and seeing to his immediate needs. It was by doing such a small thing of seeing if he was fed that day that he first entered their family. And it reminded me of all the times I pass people by without placing a value on them. And also how we often feel that charity means doing something big for a cause but that most times the small things that we do without thinking can make all the difference.
Borrowed from @greatertalent

#5 Collins' Personal Story

This one almost made me cry. During the Q and A someone asked how Michael had changed her life. Quoting her as closely as I can I want to share what she said.

1. "He is the single most driven man I've ever met.... [an] innate competitive drive."
2. "He believed in me and was always in my corner"

I remember that warm feeling that I always got knowing that my family or the special people were in my corner. Seeing Collins' eyes light up sharing this and hearing the smile in her voice when she shared funny stories about the two of them made me think about the warm feelings I've had for my brothers and sisters.

End Note

I encourage everyone to follow the Make It Happen Foundation and the rest of the Tuohy family. Also be sure to read their book In a Heartbeat that was written by Shaun and Leighanne Tuohy. And when you can check online for Collins Tuohy's next speaking engagement and see if you can go. I know you'll find a place for her in you heart like the rest of us here in Clarksville did.

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