I’ve reverted to reading childrens’ books. I loved The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Holes, The Curious Incident…( read 27 pages of Harry Potter and gave up- bored me senseless ), to name a few .So after hearing the author , R J Palacio , interviewed on the radio ,I bought and read her book ‘Wonder’ – and loved it .There aren’t many books written about a young boy with a chronic facial disfigurement and his introduction to mainstream school. .But don’t be put off .The character ,August, is amazing ,and the book has everything . It made me cry ( not difficult ) , laugh and think to back when I was a child and growing up with a sister with a physical disability .There was a chapter by his sister ,about ‘the staring’ .I know It used to drive me mad. I became a craft-master at staring someone out and then giving them my most disparaging look .I’m not sure if Jane was aware of what I was doing ,as often I was behind her ,pushing her wheelchair .But she was extremely aware of members of the public staring at her and I knew how much that upset her. Funnily enough ,she was fine with a direct question,, why are you in a wheelchair , why don’t your legs work, why don’t your feet reach the footplates ? etc
There was an article in The Guardian ,a couple of weeks ago entitled ‘I’m not your special one’ from the perspective of three people about what it is like growing up with a disabled sibling.If you can, google and read it , there is just too much to write . But like one of the writers , when I was in primary school ,people would say, ‘What’s wrong with her ?” and I’d say ‘she has Achondroplasia. That’s how it has always been and that’s who she is’ .For me , growing up with a disabled sister was just the way it was. That was all fine ,until one day ,Mrs Goodwin ,The Lollipop Lady ,who adored Jane ,overheard Gerald Thomas pointing and sniggering at Jane , so she hit him with her lollipop .No-one ever never did it again – and she kept her job !