As part of the Reading Together Family Exploration Book Club’s Modern U.S. topic, I’m sharing my review today of Stuck in Neutral, the selected YA book. We will be discussing this book on Facebook all month.
Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman
Shawn McDaniel is an enigma and a miracle except no one knows it, least of all his father. His life is not what it may seem to anyone looking at him. Not even those who love him best have any idea what he is truly like. In this extraordinary and powerful first novel, the reader learns to look beyond the obvious and finds a character whose spirit is rich beyond imagining and whose story is unforgettable.
My life is like one of those “good news-bad news” jokes. Like, “I’ve got some good news and some bad newswhich do you want first?”
I could go on about my good news for hours, but you probably want to hear the punch line, my bad news, right? Well, there isn’t that much, really, but what’s here is pretty wild. First off, my parents got divorced ten years ago because of me. My being born changed everything for all of us, in every way. My dad didn’t divorce my mom, or my sister, Cindy, or my brother, Paul, he divorced me. He couldn’t handle my condition, so he had to leave. My condition? Well, that brings us to the guts of my bad news.
This book is short but so thought provoking. It’s written in first person in Shawn’s voice. Shawn has cerebral palsy and cannot control any of his muscles. He cannot communicate with anyone, and, yet, he has a great attitude and a full understanding of the world around him. I enjoyed learning about the ways that Shawn was like every other teenage boy and hearing about his struggles and those of his family because of his condition.
Shawn loves his brother, sister, and his parents. His father left the family when Shawn was young because he could not stand seeing Shawn in pain everyday. And now he wants to compassionately kill Shawn, so he won’t suffer anymore. But Shawn doesn’t want to die. He likes his life. He loves his seizures. That was perhaps the most interesting bit of all, but I won’t spoil it with an explanation.
This book is humorous despite the heavy content. It’s very well written, and it made a great audiobook. It’s a perfect book club book because there is SO much to discuss. I highly recommend it.
My Rating: 4 Stars
On the blog last year…