For young people a first romance is an area of great mystery. For Annie, this is compounded by the fact that she has a mild form of Cerebral Palsy. She walks with toes pointed in and legs turned in, and arms swinging to compensate for that. However, she has been blessed with a mother who is not only loving and sensitive, but also extremely practical. Annie’s strength and attitude have been guided by her Mum, and her resilience is her foundation.
Annie is confident and proactive. When she begins at Cliffe College, a whole new world is opening up for her. She looks around at lunch break and decides she will go over and chat to some friendly looking fellows. So she has made her first contact. The English teacher gives the students a copy of “Wuthering Heights” to study, and as Annie is a confirmed “Book Sniffer,” she is very excited. It is at this time that a young man comes into the classroom, a young Polish man named Fab, and he sits next to Annie. He is very up front and chatty in the most innocent way.
Subtle reminders of Annie’s disability are present all the time. When Fab opens a door for her, he says that he is sorry that she is an invalid. She hotly declares that she is not, and says that word also spells invalid, (as not being valid.) When Fab asks her if it is difficult having a disability, she replies that society makes her appear disabled. She has a physical impairment. When getting on a bus, the disabled space for a wheelchair was taken up by two prams. It was easier for the bus driver to ignore this than address the mothers, so Annie had to politely insist on a space and a seat.
Because of the need to stand up for herself, and be aware, Annie has developed an independence that even keeps her mother a little at bay. When she meets a special person, her Mother points out that she may lose some control, which will be scary, but may also be fun. Her Mother again gives the best advice when she tells Annie, “You will never lose yourself, you know who you are.” Great reinforcing ideas of her self-worth.
This is such a fun and entertaining story. The humour in the character is so real that you feel you know them. Fab is unaware of many customs and is always on the lookout to help. He brings his own homemade rolls to school as the canteen ones are dry. He and Annie exchange texts about Heathcliffe and some of the character’s more bizarre behaviour. “ME: OMG Heathcliffe’s just dug up Cathy’s body, Sick”. Fab, “Surely romantic.”
Lovely characters, positive actions, and enough self-doubt to make this a terrific story.
|Publisher||Bloomsbury Childrens Books|
|Distributor||Bloomsbury Childrens Books|