Cover image for The history of my shoes and the evolution of Darwin's theory
The history of my shoes and the evolution of Darwin's theory
1st Carroll & Graf ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Carroll & Graf, 2007.
Physical Description:
xvii, 206 p. ; 21 cm.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 921 FRIES 1 1
Book 921 FRIES 1 1

On Order



A searing, imaginative memoir that pairs two stories, the author's budding self-realization and the race to formulate the theory of evolution.

Author Notes

Kenny Fries teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Goddard College

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

An unusual historian, Fries wears the story of his life on his feet in specially constructed orthopedic shoes. And because many have simplified evolutionary theory into the slogan survival of the fittest, Fries measures his own conflicted identity against the terms of that theory\emdash and against the psychological complexities of its discoverers. For in Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace, Fries recognizes a pair of intellectual adventurers whose research\emdash now in isolation, now in concert, now in conflict\emdash illuminates his own quest to adapt to an ever-shifting environment. Indeed, Fries never appreciates his unnaturally shaped shoes more than when they enable his otherwise-crippled feet to transport him up the trails of the Gal\'e1pagos Islands, where Darwin once contemplated the natural shapes of birds and reptiles. Appreciation melds with resistance, however, when Fries attempts to reframe the Darwin-Wallace debate over sexual selection from his homosexual perspective. Few are the writers who can so deftly weave science into intensely personal reflections, compellingly reminding readers of the still unfathomable mystery of one terrestrial species. --Bryce Christensen Copyright 2007 Booklist

Table of Contents

Prologue: Where Darwin Stoodp. XV
Still Disabledp. 1
The Beehivep. 8
Utilitarian Shoesp. 15
A Little World Within Itselfp. 18
Bodies of Waterp. 21
Darwin at Homep. 26
I.D. Shoesp. 29
Wallace in the Amazonp. 34
Echoes of Extinctionp. 37
What Wallace Foundp. 40
My Salamandersp. 43
Birds of Paradisep. 46
Bananas and Dewp. 49
Ambulatory Peoplep. 52
The Emerald Buddhap. 55
The Old Monk-Priestp. 60
Extinct Like the Wolf and Tigerp. 64
Shoeless in Phang Nga Bayp. 68
Departure From the Original Typep. 70
A Hole in a Shoep. 74
The Hidden Bond of Connectionp. 78
Dark Waterp. 84
A New Sciencep. 88
Something About You Kidsp. 91
Metaphorsp. 94
Shoes on Firep. 97
Under the Form of the Baboonp. 100
Natural Affectionp. 105
Wallace's Survivalp. 107
Disability Made Me Do Itp. 110
The Origins of Desirep. 113
The Imperfections of Beautyp. 115
The Accumulation of Little Thingsp. 119
Shoes in a White Cardboard Boxp. 121
Living Among Themp. 123
Spilled Ricep. 126
ADDp. 129
A Gap in the Wiringp. 133
A Young Man in a Hurryp. 135
Black Monkeysp. 138
Perverse Naturep. 140
Aqua Booties, Size Sixp. 146
Foaming Over Itp. 150
Reciprocal Altruismp. 153
The Schistp. 156
A Portafloor and Yellow Boatsp. 158
Crossing the Riverp. 161
Radiant, Not Blinding, Lightp. 165
Shoes and the Calvaria Treep. 170
Black Shoesp. 174
The History of My Shoesp. 177
Disability as Zeitgeistp. 179
Birds in Novemberp. 182
Changing the Questionp. 185
A Cane With No Storyp. 187
The Niche of a Flightless Birdp. 190
No Reasonp. 192
Big and Smallp. 193
Transformation to Flightp. 195
Infinite Space and Timep. 199
Epilogue: Sky-pointingp. 201
Acknowledgmentsp. 205