Roe, Monica M. 2008. Thaw.
Our narrator, Dane Rafferty, is a dumb boy. And that's not an exaggeration. He's a boy that really and truly doesn't get it. Doesn't get what it means to be considerate, be nice, be respectful, be humane, be compassionate. Stubborn. Angry. Self-centered. Frustrated.
Dane, when we first meet, him is helpless. Stricken with a disease--Guillain-Barre Syndrome--Dane is paralyzed. The good news, 75% of patients with GBS recover and gain back use of their bodies. Dane is past the worst--he's now able to breathe on his own. But the rest--control of his body from simple things like turning one's head, moving his arms, hands, fingers, sitting up, standing, walking, etc.--is all beyond him. For Dane, an active teen guy--a skier to be exact--this disease has crippled him mentally and emotionally.
The narrative is fractured, told in two parts--then and now. The now is March through May; the then is February. In just a few months, his life has changed--everything has changed. We meet his parents, his girlfriend, his friends through these passages. And what we see is not pretty. Dane is a jerk--pure and simple. But we are also seeing Dane in the present. We understand--or I suppose that should be I understood--why he was bitter and angry and cold. Why he put up such a defensive stand. He's angry at himself. Angry at his body. Frustrated with everybody including himself. He doesn't know how to trust. He doesn't know how to be patient. He doesn't know how to accept help.
The book is well-written. Very authentic. Even when Dane is acting like an a**, it feels like he's an authentic one. His coming-of-age story is powerful in its vulnerable honesty. This one's definitely worth sticking with, the pay off is very satisfying. One of my favorite aspects? The characterization. Everyone has depth. The story and characters are intricately done. Loved it.
Set in Florida and New York.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews