Accidents of Nature by Harriet McBryde Johnson

I was really impressed with this audiobook. I was afraid that the narrator would stoop to using an offensive, stereotypical “accent” for the characters who had cerebral palsy and other mental handicaps. Instead of sounding like the mocking children in the school yard, though, the narrator just sounded, well, normal — at least as normal as you can get with the variety of campers from Camp Courage, aka “Crip Camp.” For every character, the tone, speed, and enunciation fit perfectly with the person’s handicap (or lack thereof) and the innocence or condescension with which they spoke. Jean is a girl with cerebral palsy who used to think she was just like the “norms” she went to school with, until she met Sara during a 10 day vacation to Camp Courage. Sara is witty, well-spoken, and cynical of everyone. Even though Sara is wheelchair-bound, she “stands up” to everyone around her and fights against the general lack of respect that many people have for those with mental and physical disabilities. Other campers (like Willie, Denise and Margie) and camp counselors (like Carole and Sue) help to provide a larger picture of life at “Crip Camp” and serve as both comic relief and a means by which to raise the further issues such as sexism and racism. Often hilarious, sometimes sad, but always made me think.

Happy Reading!


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