Diagnosed at age 6 with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which causes progressive weakness, David Evans has endured more than most 23-year-olds could ever imagine. Rather than focusing on his hardships, however, the author uses his new book to share the joys of a full and happy life.
The Angelic Writer begins with several simplistic, diary-style entries with no apparent takeaway. But the chapters soon feel more mature, with more details and the first insights about Evans’ disease. A typical boy who loves BB guns, fast cars, and video games, Evans consistently shows a positive attitude, with subtle references of difficulties—shooting an automatic water gun because he can’t squeeze a manual trigger, for example, or losing his ability to sit on the trampoline while his buddies bounce him because his bones have become too brittle—caused by a condition he refuses to dwell on.
Grammar errors, misspellings and redundancies threaten to sabotage Evans’ book, but readers who can look past these technical problems will find a sweet love story about a close-knit family who cherishes Evans for who he is. Books about people with disabilities often spotlight the mom as the parental hero, but here, it is Evans’ dad who shows the greatest tenderness, even on shared hunting and fishing expeditions. When four-wheeling together, Evans writes, “Sometimes the bumps would knock my feet off of the wooden platforms [his dad built to balance him] and my dad would reach down and put my feet back up.”
Despite the title and a brief reference in the foreword, there is little mention of angels in The Angelic Writer. And the abrupt shift to a series of metaphysical essays toward the end just doesn’t work. What does work, any drawbacks aside, is the steady, underlying message of love, family and perseverance in the midst of great personal challenge.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.