Friday, January 26, 2024

Books featuring Characters with Disabilities

After posting the MG/YA round-up, I was sure I'd find twice that many adult books on my "Read" shelf... But I didn't. So if you have recommendations, PLEASE share! I think there are some I've read but overlooked, because two were late additions after I saw them mentioned in an article I used for research.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

I loved this book. Eleanor’s frankness had so much humor to me, and it made me think of how we talk and act in daily life and how much of it is unnecessary. I do understand much of it was supposed to be sad, but it really hit me in the right way and I enjoyed it so much. Already feeling nostalgic for it, so it will probably be one I re-read every few years.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

I read this book so often in high school, college, and up to my mid-twenties, when I also saw the movie. I haven't read it in awhile, so maybe it's time to revisit. I remember loving it because it seems so simple on the surface, but when you read it more purposely, you really get to know the characters and feel for all they've been through. I think George and Lennie have a really powerful relationship that really makes this stand out in terms of characters with disabilities.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Read this book. Seriously, you must read it. I don't want to give this book the short end of the stick when it comes to writing a review, but I don't actually think there's much that can be said about it. Or, more accurately, there's so much that can be said about it, once you encounter someone else who has read it. I think it's best to open the cover knowing as little as possible about the subject matter. Let yourself go in with no expectations and be overcome with the characters and the story. One of those books where you read it as quickly as you can, savoring the prose while needing to know what happens, though you don't actually want to reach the end.

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.

This was required reading in high school and I remember worrying that it would be the most boring thing I'd ever read. But I immediately loved the unique storytelling approach and was so invested in Charlie's progress. This is another I haven't read since my mid-twenties that I now want to revist and see how it holds up and if it still impacts me as being so profound.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

I loved the matter of fact writing style of this book. It was a bit chick-lit, but it was interesting and, like I said, I liked the voice. I thought the ending was forced and a little hokey, more like a romantic comedy movie than a book, and it made me not interested enough to read the sequels.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

A book I've been wanting to read for a long time. Working with adults with disabilities, I love the chance to get inside their heads and see how they function best. This book has a nice little mystery and some drama, and it was very well done. I loved that we got to see how Christopher works best when relating to math and patterns; he's very systematic. A great book I'd recommend and read again.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Ok, let me start with my rave review of the book in general. I read it in my 20s even though I saw the movie several times as a kid because my dad loved it. Therefore I loved it. But when I read the book, it was like a totally different world. Lee has this style of writing that is so Southern, but so...not. I can't describe how she makes you feel like you're in the South without depending on the dialect. You can feel the slow pace and the dusty roads, you can hear the neighbors gossiping on the porch and lowering their voices to whispers as you walk by. She accomplishes all this and more without employing an excessive amount of y'alls, ya hears, ain'ts, and other Southern phrases that are often overused to try and set the scene.

And the characters, wow. I fell head over heels for Atticus. So smart and reserved, a good father, an honest man. Jem is a really realistic pre-teen boy, if I remember my brother at that age. Scout is the typical tomboy, trying to hold on to her brother as long as she can, if I remember me at that age. Scout reminds me of Ramona Quimby, and for a long time I wanted to be each of them. Good role models.

I think it also says something about the characters and the writing (as much as the power of the story itself) that I could read it and still feel the punch in certain scenes, still cry in certain scenes, still get my hopes up, even though I already knew what was going to happen. This is a novel where the fun is in reading it, not knowing it. It's timeless.

Anyway, I always thought of Boo Radley as something as a loner, but these articles made me see him in a different light:

The Single Feather by Ruth F. Hunt

Rachel is a thirty year old woman who uses a wheelchair, and after escaping from a heavily-guarded home, she lives independently in a new town in England. To try and get her old life back, she joins a local art group and makes friends with some of the locals. The story is really compelling, and I was very drawn in to find out what happened in Rachel’s past as her disability was caused by an accident, and she doesn’t reveal much about the home she escaped from. The ebook I read had a lot of punctuation errors, especially with quotation marks, which occasionally took me out of the story, but overall it’s a great book.

Share your recommendations in the comments! Because of course I already posted the MG/YA round-up before realizing I had books reviewed on Goodreads but not my blog, so I didn't include them. You can see all the books I've shelved as involving disabilites on my profile. They include fiction, nonfiction, and all audience age levels.

I used to work in a learning center for adults with disabilities, and when I left to study library science, I held library programs for them, which you can read about here. You can also check out all posts with a disabilities tag.

No comments:

Post a Comment