Book Review for Valentine’s Day
“Amy and Matthew: A love Story “ By Cammie McGovern This is not a Cinderella love story or a Romeo/ Juliet tale. It is much more magical than a Shakespeare sonnet “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” Amy was born with Cerebral Palsy and Matthew suffers with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. They meet at […]
“Amy and Matthew: A love Story “
By Cammie McGovern
This is not a Cinderella love story or a Romeo/ Juliet tale. It is much more magical than a Shakespeare sonnet “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”
Amy was born with Cerebral Palsy and Matthew suffers with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. They meet at school when Amy decides she no longer wants adult carers. She chooses peer group carers and this is where Matthew comes in. It is the last year at school and they both want to have a normal year. They want to socialize and join some clubs where teenagers hang out. “Have I not taught you to socialize” asks Amy’s mum? She has done all the practical things, to do with her education and lobbying for the various aspects of Amy’s Cerebral Palsy.
But Amy is a brilliant girl, a teenager who feels isolated when she is with other teenagers but inside she wants to connect. She is fed up of their pitying looks and her parent’s overprotectiveness. She and Matthew, immediately make a connection when she chooses him to be one of her peer carers. Matthew is different from the others. Sara, for example, sits with her in the restaurant, but is constantly checking her mobile phone and looking around, as if expecting someone else to join them. As Amy and Matthew spend more and more time together, she learns that Matthew has his own secret struggles. As they share their problems and help and support each other they realize that their friendship is something more. They are both fearful and excited about what this” more” means. They tell each other everything but the one thing they want to say.
Amy tells Matthew “your fearful thoughts, are just thoughts, they are not dangerous” He tells her that she can give a speech at the Speakers club and because she is unable to speak, her Pathway is her voice., She tells the audience that she has learnt how to be happy with the limitations of her own body and that she has also learned lot about the world of able- bodied people. “I have learnt that some people who look fine are more crippled than me, with fears they cannot explain.” They go through the usual problems, issues and setbacks that teenagers go through, as their friendship grows. They want to join their peers by going to the Proms. There is a humorous part when Amy’s peers ask her to hide booze in her walker when they go there. She agrees and she enjoys this part of connecting with them.
Amy and Matthew have pushed the boundaries of achieving what they believe they can, despite society’s preconceived ideas about disability. At Christmas, Amy gives Matthew a present of a poem by WB Yeats called “The cloths of heaven” The last two lines echo the fragility of their relationship. “I have spread my dreams under your feet, tread softly because you tread on my dreams”
There is a dearth of literature and drama in this category, for the young adult reading community. But think John Green in “The fault in in our stars” or the Irish movies “Inside I’m dancing”(2004) and “My Left Foot” ( 1989) as compared to this contribution from Cammie McGovern.
It turns on its head all the definitions of love, that artists have written since time began. The pessimistic view of the Janis Ian song “At 17 I learned the truth that love was meant for beauty queens and high school girls with clear skin smiles, who married young and then retired.” Or the more upbeat “Just can’t get you outta my head, boy” from Kylie. But, this is an epic love story which transcends any of those. It will make you laugh and cry in equal measures, The sheer power of their relationship and a brilliant turn later in the novel, will blow you away. You are rooting for them at the turning of every page. If a sloppy” love story is not for you will love this. A thumping good read! A triumph for Cammie McGovern!
By Skerries Bloggers
Cloths of Heaven
William Butler Yeats
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.