Sue's Reviews > Accidents of Nature

Accidents of Nature by Harriet McBryde Johnson
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's review
Mar 30, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: young-adult, late-20th-century
Read from March 29 to 30, 2012

This book is set in 1970 from the POV of a teen girl with cerebral palsy who is attending a summer camp for disabled teens for the first time. She has always striven to be considered "normal" and when faced with a camp full of others with disabilities and a militant camper versed in Marxist theories, she begins to question her long-held beliefs. The subject matter is important for young people. Having grown up in a world of disability awareness and personal rights, it was uncomfortable to see the attitudes of the camp personnel during this pre-awareness era. The campers were exploited, ignored, and patronized and it was brutal to see it. As the main character, Jean, comes to feel that maybe fitting in isn't the right thing to do, her whole foundation is shaken because her entire existence is based on being one of the gang. But she comes to see that she will never "fit in", and maybe that's fine, if somewhat miserable. The book is for older readers, as it has some fairly graphic portrayals of life with disabilities, as well as a fair amount of strong language.
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