This novel tells the story of a disabled character and the woman who attempts to help her move beyond her perceived shortcomings and life’s injustices.
When life coach Rhonda first encounters Liz, she’s hesitant to accept her as a client. Liz is disabled from a childhood fall that has left her with obvious difficulty walking. Her gait was “like someone kicking a soccer ball, the way she swings her right leg around with its elevated shoe.” Rhonda also has issues involving past disabilities and loss, and Liz’s situation makes her uncomfortable.
However, business associate Justin persuades her to take Liz as a client. As Rhonda and Liz meet, Rhonda attempts to help Liz face the truth of her past and the fall that disabled her. Angry and frustrated at being excluded, ridiculed and discriminated against, Liz resists. She also struggles with the death of her alcoholic ex-husband and the marriage that ended badly. The challenges Liz and Rhonda face jeopardize their professional relationship even as they push Liz to meet her demons head on.
Based on a true story, this tale offers a close look at the struggles people with disabilities cope with daily. It’s also a candid look at the therapist’s side of the equation, particularly pertaining to personal issues and biases.
Unfortunately, the plot is thin, driven by a question—What happened on the day Liz fell?—that’s largely answered early in the book. The dialogue can be stilted and the descriptions questionable. (When a random teenager asks Liz what is wrong with her leg, the author writes that “Her head spun around like Linda Blair in The Exorcist.”) Liz’s abandonment of the pets she previously considers family is baffling, and there are occasional technical errors, such as the conversation regarding “unconscious biases,” in which UBs (short for “unconscious biases”) inexplicably become UCs.
This story may resonate with those who’ve experienced disabilities, but it requires further work to appeal to general readers.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.