Recommended: sure, for other people
For folks curious about life with SMA as a wheelchair-user, for a light mystery heavy on character introspection, for small laughs about dark things
Daniel leads a rich life in the university town of Athens, Georgia. He’s got a couple close friends, a steady paycheck working for a regional airline, and of course, for a few glorious days each Fall, college football tailgates. He considers himself to be a mostly lucky guy—despite the fact that he’s suffered from a debilitating disease since he was a small child, one that has left him unable to speak or to move without a wheelchair.
Largely confined to his home, Daniel spends the hours he’s not online communicating with irate air travelers observing his neighborhood from his front porch. One young woman passes by so frequently that spotting her out the window has almost become part of his daily routine. Until the day he’s almost sure he sees her being kidnapped.
I can’t really believe I’m rating this as “just ok” but that is indeed what’s happening. I can’t really pinpoint what missed for me with this book. Objectively I can look at it’s components and think it would probably be good, but ultimately I just wasn’t that into it. Reading it wasn’t a chore, but I guess I just never really connected with the characters nor the plot.
Probably unsurprisingly, what did the most for me was the insight into an experience for someone with SMA who uses a wheelchair. The author is not in that situation himself, but grew up with others who were and had close relationships with some folks with SMA, so I hope that it is a fair and accurate imagining. Daniel’s voice was so funny! When he commented on the absurdity from an outside view of a bulky man dropping a disabled kid, I cracked up at his piercing depiction and loved the way he could find a way to smile at even an objectively overall horrible situation.
And yet, still. By the last quarter I was speeding through so I could be done because I just wanted to wrap it up. The ending took a turn or two that I absolutely did not expect which was greatly appreciated, and overall the quality of this book is high. But my experience of it? That, for whatever reason, was “Eh.” (One small thing I didn’t terribly like were the moments when the narrative was directed at “you” and addressed to “you.” That’s largely hit or miss with me.)