One of my friends sent me a tweet today asking if I knew of any fantasy books with either a disabled main character or a disabled character who plays a decent role and isn't a token crip sort of thing. I was very pleased because she's able-bodied. That normally wouldn't be a "yes, pleased" thing but I've been reading a few articles writen on news sites about disability today (by disabled people) which are absolutely full of missed the point comments about disability by able-bodied people. Some of which were downright insulting and some were just stupid but most were frustrating. So being asked for book recs is, in a roundabout way, a good thing
And I can't really think of any. I did receive a book to review today which is fantasy and which has a main character with CP. But obviously, I'm not going to rec a book I haven read yet!
The interesting thing is when I e-mailed the author of that book to see about getting a review copy (in other words to crawl and beg, but hey it worked!) one of the things I said to him was that not enough books feature disabled characters.
So then after I got that tweet I started wondering about books in general with disabled characters.
The first one that came to mind was Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult. That's a really good book (I did hate the ending but that had nothing to do with the disabled character, it just sucked as an ending IMHO) and it really handles having a character with OI (I have no idea how to spell the full version of that) well I think. I don't know much about OI but I do know about being a wheelchair user, and she got really close to the experience. In fact there was one moment when Willow, the crip in the book, mentions this one thing about being in a chair and I was blown away because it's in no way obvious about being a wheelchair user and I wouldn't expect it to be there. I'm not even sure it's something I would mention if asked.
For the crips out there, I am talking of the problem of having long hair and having casters (front wheels) on a wheelchair. We all shed hair, it happens. If you've long hair and are in a chair, it will end up wrapped around them and caught. And it builds up. It's a pain in the arse and needs clearing out periodically. And it's pretty disgusting.
Anyway, back to books. It took me literally 20 minutes to think of any other book with a disabled MC. Lottery by Patricia Wood was the only one that comes to mind. That's a good book but I preferred Handle With Care I think. Click on the link to see what I thought of it.
I can think of other books which handle disability issues well such as A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell (I absolutely LOVE that book, must find the time to read it again). But books with disabled characters or disabled characters who aren't token characters? I can't think of any.
Obviously, that doesn't mean they aren't out there and knowing myself like I do I wouldn't be surprised if one came to me in the middle of the night or in the shower or something. But it is a bit disappointing that it's so hard for me to think of any.
So if you know of any, rec them to me. And in the meantime I'll be in the corner getting over my cold. And plotting my own book with a disabled main character and all that. Because if I can't read about them, I'll clearly have to write about them.