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Gabrielle Giffords' book offers a window into her struggle to recover

Gabrielle Giffords, who has fought to recover from an assassination attempt for the past 10 months, is releasing a memoir about her difficult recovery including having to relearn how to talk and walk.

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When President George H.W. Bush came to visit her in the hospital, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords could say only "Wow!" and another word she had been uttering frequently at the time, "chicken."

Months later, when she was shown photos of famous people to see if she recognized faces, Giffords looked at Arnold Schwarzenegger and replied, more or less accurately: "Messin' around. Babies."

These and other details emerge in a new book written by Giffords and her husband that offers the most personal look yet at her slow, agonizing recovery after being shot in the head at point-blank range.

The memoir, titled "Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope," describes Giffords' efforts over the past 10 months to relearn how to walk and talk, and her painful discovery that six people were killed in the Jan. 8 attack outside a Tucson grocery store.

The Associated Press purchased an advance copy of the book, which is set for release Nov. 15.

The book is written from the perspective of her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly. But Giffords herself delivers the last chapter — a single page of short sentences and phrases called "Gabby's Voice" in which she says her goal is to get back to Congress.

"I will get stronger. I will return," she wrote.

The book also reveals that the couple, who got married in 2007, was trying to have a baby. Giffords, 41, had undergone several rounds of fertility treatments in the last few years and had hoped to get pregnant early in 2011.

The book does not say whether Giffords will seek re-election next year. Kelly said the couple did not want to rush a decision. The deadline to formally declare her intentions is in May.

Aides have repeatedly emphasized that her focus is on recovery and that there is no timetable for making a decision about her political future. The Arizona Democrat was shot just days after being sworn in for her third term.

Giffords stunned colleagues by appearing on the House floor Aug. 1 to vote for the debt ceiling deal, but she has largely avoided the public eye, spending most of her time at TIRR Memorial Hermann, a rehabilitation center in Houston.

Giffords recently competed two weeks of intensive therapy sessions in Asheville, N.C., and returned to Houston on Friday evening, her staff said in a statement.


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