I received a review copy of this book from the publisher, Advocado Press. I was intrigued to see how the author handled presenting her heroine’s perspective when she was basically considered nonverbal at the beginning of the novel. No one had bothered to find a way to communicate with her or for to communicate with them, but boy, when they did, Emily’s life took off like nobody’s business.
I know the entire book took place over a period of about three years, but in some ways, it felt as if Emily blossomed practically overnight. Not only did she find her voice, she found a place to call home, things that she loved doing, and even started to develop a romantic relationship by the end of the novel. She got a life.
I was just compelled to keep reading until I finished the story. It was a fascinating look into the mind and life of someone who generally wouldn’t be noticed by the outside world, and I cheered for the fire inside her. She was a character to remember.
It was a pretty courageous move on the part of Julie Shaw Cole to undertake this kind of character and subject. I did a little research trying to learn more about her, but all I could find was another book she helped to edit called Safely Home: A Profile of a Futures Planning Group.
I’ve never worked with a group quite like that as a participant or a leader, but I believe that portrayal of people making plans to become independent with the kind of support they need to remain out of institutions is extremely true to life, along with the fear others have of allowing it to happen and the fears of those striking out on their own, in spite of resistance all around them. .
I don’t know if anyone reading this has any experience of institutionalization or trying to become more independent in living with their disabilities. If so, I’d love to hear more about it. Is it like what is described in this book? I’d be honored if you would share.