In this novel, a young woman with cerebral palsy lives, loves, and thrives.
Confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak without assistance from an electronic device, Lily Cooper accepts being dependent on others for help. Her only friend—her beloved sister, Layna—treats her like an equal, while her well-intentioned parents fight about her care. When Layna dies unexpectedly, Lily sinks into depression (“I have no idea of the purpose of my existence anymore. I question what it is in this world that is still keeping me alive”). But eventually she realizes that she must reimagine her future. What follows is an inspiring glimpse into the active and determined mind of a person who, from the outside, appears to be unresponsive. Lily remains, in fact, painfully aware of other people, from those who speak loudly and slowly as if she can’t understand them to those who call her “retarded” just to hurt her feelings. But the ones who take the time to learn how to communicate with her become charmed by her determination and grace. Lily never lets her disability stop her from pursuing her dreams. She finishes high school, attends college, gets her own apartment, and starts a family. Although there are a couple of structural hiccups (the time shifts in the first act seem unnecessary and cause Lily to introduce herself twice to the reader), Williby (Loving You Hurts So Good, 2016, etc.) successfully balances Lily’s many triumphs with detailed descriptions of the day-to-day hardships of living with cerebral palsy. Lily requires help performing the most basic tasks, and her limited mobility sometimes leaves her stranded in awkward—and potentially dangerous—situations. In one thought-provoking scene, Lily’s parents deliberately seize her communication device to keep her from asking too many questions about a painful subject. But Lily is willing to fight for her independence, especially when she meets Chance Ryker, who watched his father die from ALS and fears meeting the same fate. In one especially lovely scene, he tells Lily, “I love to see you smile because you smile with your eyes.”
An uplifting tale about a woman who voices her desires and transcends her limitations, shedding a revealing and flattering light on the private lives of the disabled.