By My Side – Alice Peterson

One of the great things about reviewing books is that when you finish one you can’t mindlessly dive into the next one- you have to take a bit of time to process what you’ve just read. The standout for me here is that this is amazingly well researched. We’ve covered a couple of Alice Petersons here already, and this one seems the most ambitious.

Cass is a medical student, happily fulfilling her lifelong career dream and falling in love with her boyfriend Sean. Her world comes crashing down when she is hit by a car and suffers a spinal injury that leaves her paralysed from the waist down. Once Sean has scarpered and Cass has moved in with her parents to adjust to her new life, she discovers a whole new world of rehabilitation, getting around, dogs, friendships, action-packed holidays, and possibly love.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Where to start? So many great characters here. The star was Ticket, Cass’s trained helper dog who performs impressive feats to make Cass’s life easier and keep her out of danger. Cass’s Mum is a well layered character who surprises even herself by pushing Cass to get out into the world instead of coddling her. Guy and Dom are similarly afflicted friends from Cass’s time in hospital, they form a strong bond as they head back into the world with varying levels of success. Cass meets Charlie on a ski trip, he’s able-bodied and she ends up moving into his spare room when she returns to London. Their relationship is unpredictable and as complicated as you might imagine.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Cass has above-normal levels of resilience in her journey to adapt to her new life, and startles everyone around her with brave decisions, some of which turn out well, others not so much. The only area she struggles with is her old life as a medical student, and instead moves towards charity work.

Painting a picture for your paperback?– This book is an amazing insight into the nightmare that is spinal injury, from the accident to rehabilitation, all the way through to adaptation, acceptance and finally enjoying life again. Details of little things that you wouldn’t normally consider make the story very real.

Evaluation of your eBook?– For such a serious subject the book was very readable, almost light in tone. Despite Cass’s setbacks she still has the normal problems for someone of her age in the areas of dating, career, friendships, family and where to live. I like a book that makes little time jumps to the next interesting period in someone’s life, but I would have been interested in seeing a little more of the time immediately following her injury because that is mainly covered in flashback snippets. At least we get right to the business of learning to lead a new life, and it’s quite engrossing. It’s funny, heartwarming, tragic and memorable. And you’ll never take your legs for granted again!

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £5.03.

US: Not on Amazon, but can be found on Kobobooks for $9.39.

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