Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Accidents of Nature by Harriet McBryde Johnson

The main characters are Jean who is spastic cerebral palsy and Sara who is Muscular Dystrophy. The story takes place at Camp Courage. This is a camp for kids, teens and young adults with a wide range of disabilities and abilities. Jean has been raised mainstreamed where she has received much recognition for her courage in facing her challenges. She has taken all her certificates, awards with her to camp. Sara has never gone to normal school, she has gone to crip school but was not a residential placement. Sara believes strongly she should be able to enjoy every day of her life in her own way. This is something kids striving to appear normal when they are not do not have the opportunity to do. Jean is sort of a pet or mascot for the students in normal school. Before she met Sara, she had never thought of living her own way rather than the way normals dictate. The normals that run the camp and telethons, which Sara abhorres, characterize the campers as showing spirit just by being alive, not curling up and dying, determination by doing ordinary things and courage in showing their faces in public (p.207) Sara wants camp to be the crip's camp that choices made for activities should be crip's choices. An example of this was the movie night committee choosing a Marx Brother's comedy as their choice to watch which was nixed by the norms in favor of the "uplifting" Pollyana. I think the differing views are quite interesting but I think at times they overwhelm the story. Jean's discovery of a new way of seeing herself is especially good. Those who run telethon's to get money to fund medical research could learn something here, as could many norms.
jdw 6/13/07

No comments: