Thursday, November 8, 2012

No Hand to Hold & No Legs to Dance on: A Thalidomide Survivor's Story by Louise Medus

While the battle for the compensation of Thalidomide victims was raging in the 1970s, former Labour MP Jack Ashley asked in a parliamentary debate how Louise, then 11 years old, could look forward to 'laughing and loving with no hand to hold and no legs to dance on'.Louise was born Louise Mason, a victim of the devastating drug Thalidomide. Born without arms and legs, she is the daughter of David Mason, who single-handedly held out against the drug company, the legal establishment and all the other parents of Thalidomide victims in the high-profile fight for proper compensation for the victims. As she was photographed with her family and appeared on television meeting celebrities during the battle, few people realised that she did not live with her wealthy parents and three siblings at their spacious North London home but was being brought up in an institution, Chailey Heritage in Sussex. In fact, Louise had never gone home from hospital and, for the first five weeks of her life, her mother didn't even see her. This is a survivor's story, a triumph of the human spirit over adversity. Louise married John, a partially sighted man, and had two beautiful children. She was devastated when she discovered that he was having an affair with their carer. She also had to undergo a kidney transplant, the first Thalidomide victim to do so. She has worked, been an active disability rights campaigner and has now found new love, with Darren, a fellow Thalidomide victim who was born without arms. From Goodreads.

This book is the life story of Louise, a Thalidomide victim/survivor. This is a gripping book about growing up in an institution and learning to do things despite having a disability. I am actually surprised how much I liked this book, I didn't expect to but Louise Medus and her co-writer Gill Swain have written a very good book. It took a lot of strength and determination to  fight for her own independence and it makes me think of the ones that might not have had the strength to go against the authorities and parents and ended up living most of their life in an institution. This book is of course written from her point of view and not everybody would agree with her but that is always the case with a life story and I think she has done it well. I would like to read her father's book, to read about his fight for a proper compensation when not many others would or could fight.
Definitely a book worth reading.

This book qualifies for:
Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge, 
2012 Ebook Challenge,
A-Z  Book Challenge 2012,
Scavenger Hunt 2012 Reading Challenge,

Why Buy the Cow? Reading challenge 2012 ( this book was free on the 26th of October 2012) 

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