4.5 stars but I’m giving it 5 on goodreads because <3.
Okay, it’s a childrens’ book. Okay, some of the child-talk was cringe inducing. But overall this was brilliant. I cried so much during the second half, particularly the early scenes in hospital with Katy and her dad. When I was 13 I spent six weeks in hospital with my dad visiting every day like this – totally different circumstances but I still waaay overidentified!
I loved Jacqueline Wilson growing up (who didn’t?) and this just brings back all the reasons why. She really gets kids and her characters are truly lifelike. It was idealistic (I can’t imagine many 11 year olds coping as well as Katy did in the circumstances), but then again, what do I know? Some kids can be amazingly resilient, and a lot more reflective and sensitive than some adults!
I know JW wrote it as a take on “What Katy Did”, partly because she disagreed with the message in that book (essentially, that prayer and goodness could lead to recovery from major injury, which I agree is pretty insulting to all the good, kind disabled individuals who never do recover). In that sense I think it does really well, although I will have to read the original (which I intend to do) to make a fair judgement. It certainly makes you think hard about all the little things that are so easily taken for granted and to impress upon you the amazing courage and strength it takes to adapt to having to use a wheelchair. I think this is really important for children to be made to think about and that’s a pretty big reason for my giving a rare 5 star review.
I’m not certain but I think the weirdly quaint old-fashioned middle-class language may have been in homage to the original. I can’t remember noticing it in the JW books I read as a child, but then I also read a lot of Enid Blyton around the same time so I might not have noticed!
I would love to read a sequel, or ‘What Katy did Next’ though I haven’t been able to find anything to suggest that one is forthcoming. Certainly I will check whether there are any more JW books I haven’t read yet. Recommend!