Obviously I’m not what most people would describe as happy. But that has nothing to do with anything. Happiness is not a priority. Survival is.
Alvie Fitz doesn’t fit in, and she doesn’t care. She’s spent years swallowing meds and bad advice from doctors and social workers. Adjust, adapt. Pretend to be normal. It sounds so easy.
If she can make it to her eighteenth birthday without any major mishaps, she’ll be legally emancipated. Free. But if she fails, she’ll become a ward of the state and be sent back to the group home.
All she wants is to be left alone to spend time with her friend, Chance, the one-winged hawk at the zoo where she works. She can bide her time with him until her emancipation. Humans are overrated anyway. Then she meets Stanley, a boy who might be even stranger than she is—a boy who walks with a cane, who turns up every day with a new injury, whose body seems as fragile as glass. Without even meaning to, she finds herself getting close to him. But Alvie remembers what happened to the last person she truly cared about.
Her past stalks her with every step, and it has sharp teeth. But if she can find the strength to face the enemy inside her, maybe she’ll have a chance at happiness after all.
I read this because Moon recommended it to me, and I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. But I really enjoyed it.
It is very slow, but that felt appropriate to the story, and to how Alvie processes things. Her logic is great throughout – I loved her thoughts on the sign!
And great disability rep – autism and OI both shown and the positive and negatives of living with both come across well. I don’t know how accurate they are, not living with either condition (not to mention autism is a wide spectrum, as acknowledged by Alvie!), but it felt honest and real. It also had a pretty good description concerning how easy it is for someone in her position to lose what she has and be put in some potentially pretty terrible situations.
While not a lot happens, it’s still a pretty moving story about a girl trying to figure out how to live with her condition, her trauma, and also what she wants in life. It manages to be both sad and uplifting. I think more people should be reading this book and talking about it.
Buy When My Heart Joins the Thousand from Amazon UK.