Thaw by Monica M. Roe, Boyds Mills, 2008, 9781590784699
Grade: Grades 10 up
Synopsis: This book is one of those which has a fly-leaf description which totally misses the story. I was drawn to read this book because the main character had to deal with a debilitating disease and I thought that could be intriguing. But the description does a disservice to the story!
Dane is a high school senior who has contracted Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a paralyzing disease which apparently folks recover from. Dane is a super star in skiing and aiming for perfection.
But what is not described or alluded to is the background of verbal abuse Dane has received from his father. The reader guesses this has really controlled and impacted Dane’s life to the point where he can’t even let his guard down with other people for fear of losing control. Other people include his girlfriend Elise. He can’t warm up to anyone for fear that will distract him from his path of perfection.
Then he is hit with this disease, and sent to a hospital in Florida for therapy. His parents remain distant and through flashbacks we learn about Dane’s and Elise’s last encounter.
Dane is resistant to the therapists and impatient with his inability to walk. It is when his parents visit and his father observes a therapy session that a lot of the relationship comes out. Dane’s therapist Anya, a physically abused woman, helps him come to an understanding about himself. He knows what he needs to do but doesn’t know if he will be successful or not and this includes walking again as well as seeing Elise.
Dane’s story is told in the first person and you get the strong impression of a jerk. I wouldn’t want to be his friend or girlfriend! His gradual realizations and growth are pretty genuine. No quick happy ending here. There’s a lot of work to be done!
Written by a therapist, a lot of that part of the story rings true. I am delighted to see physical and occupational therapy separated out! (My sister is an OT!) There is a difference between the two!
Reviewer: Susan Babb
Library City: NMRLS (MA)
Review date: July 24, 2008