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Book Review: Stuck in Neutral

Reviewed By: Woodstock - RAM

[4 stars]

Stuck in Neutral     Amazon US HC Amazon Canada HC
Terry Trueman
Class/Genre:   Fiction   Juvenile   Young Adult
HarperCollins Children's Books 2000

Shawn McDaniel is 14 years old, and very very smart. He knows a lot about a lot of things and with the assistance of his sister and brother, he is almost completely self taught. That's the good news. The bad news is that he has cerebral palsy and has virtually no control over his muscles. This means that he is unable to communicate in any fashion whatsoever. Even the ability to control a computer or wheelchair by a sort of baton, or to blink his eyes for "yes" or "no" will forever be beyond him. For his entire life, he must be strapped to a chair, wear diapers and be kept clean by others, experience life around him only by eavesdropping on others.

Because of his inability to communicate, he has been labeled "profoundly developmentally disabled" by professionals.

The author has a son who has much the same disabilities as Shawn. In part this book is a father's meditation on what life must be like for his son. But more chillingly, this book is a reaction to a situation drawn from a disturbing headline. What if a father who loved his son and felt excruciating distress at the hopelessness of his situation were to smother the boy and kill him?

Published for and marketed to a young adult audience, this book poses questions which will intrigue any thoughtful reader.

Woodstock - RAM

Reprinted with permission. Do Not repost without permission from the author, Woodstock - RAM

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