Sunday, September 21, 2008

Defect by Will Weaver

"In other words, his defect was a gift," she adds (37). Can a birth defect ever be considered a gift? This novel addresses the struggle of one teen and his acceptance of his extreme defect.

David has a hard time being accepted due to his strange smell and facial abnormalities that cause people to stare. Those faults aren't his real defect, though. David has wings. Under his arms he has extra skin that fans out into wings. After a trick he plays on some bullies where he leads them to believe he jumped off a cliff (in reality he flew off it, but they didn't see), David gets sent to an alternative school where kids who don't fit in go. This, while a hassle at first, turns out to be a good thing when he befriends a girl named Cheetah who suffers seizures. After being spotted soaring the night by two teens soaring, David feels his life fall into chaos. His secret is discovered and he faces the tough decision of whether or not to undergo an "Extreme Makeover" and become normal. In deciding, David meets a young boy who's dying last wish is to see proof of god. Could David, the "injured angel," be the answer? Could his defect actually be a gift?

This novel does a goes a decent job exploring the challenge many people face of accepting themselves. David sees his wings, at times, as a hindrance to his success in the world. He has trouble making friends and fitting in. Come the end, when he's given an easy way out, he's forced to evaluate his place in the world. Did God make him that way on purpose and, if so, what is it? There are slight religious undertones but it is very subtle. One thing teeny tiny detail that I noticed and felt slightly bothered by (because I'm overly curious and looked it up) is that the author called his defect Icthyosis vulgaris, which, when Googled, comes up as : Ichthyosis vulgaris with an extra "h." This disease is basically dry, scaly skin, not wings or extra skin. This just struck me as off because, in my opinion, it made the book lose a bit of credibility. Teens are curious and I'm sure someone else is going to look it up to see a real picture of someone with wings and be horribly disappointed.

This book was a good read. While David has an extreme case of accepting yourself, the undertones of his story are ones that many people can relate to.


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