Int'l librarian's Reviews > Accidents of Nature

Accidents of Nature by Harriet McBryde Johnson
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's review
Mar 12, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: disabilities-and-illness, grades-9-and-up, grade-9, grades-11-12, grade-10
Read in March, 2011

Jean is 17, and has cerebral palsy. She can’t walk, can’t feed herself. She can’t even wipe herself when she uses the bathroom. But she can tell the world who she is. Jean describes her spasms, and her disgust with her rebelling body. She also shares her high school success and plans for college, as well as her fantasies of love and sex, and a life that could somehow approach “normalcy.”

The story is set at a summer camp for disabled people. Jean portrays her campmates with the same discerning eye she turns to herself. The view can be very unsettling. Here Jean meets Sara, also in a wheelchair. Sara fights the camp’s rigid code of appropriate behavior for disabled people. She hates the camp’s “everybody wins” philosophy. And she convinces Jean to define success on her own terms.

The novel gets too moralistic at times – Jean doesn’t need to preach. She and Sara provide enough inspiration through their actions, and the actions of those around them.

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Reading Progress

08/27/2016 marked as: read

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