Disclaimer: This book was sent to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis (from Amazon)
IT IS 1998 and the British electorate and New Labour are still on honeymoon. People think welfare spending is actually a good thing and three million of us still read The News of the World on Sundays. But when the government faces ruin and an avalanche of lawsuits, demanding real access across Britain, even its special ally, Washington, abandons Downing Street and pursues a cheap conclusion to the crisis.
Meanwhile, Jas, 32 and still single, cannot imagine the maelstrom she is unwittingly about to ignite. She is trying to get on with life. Quietly. She might succeed, but her best friend Sophie walks away from a car crash which breaks Jas’ back. Sophie goes insane with guilt and relentlessly pursues married men in perverse penitence.
Jas befriends barrister Jon in a pub and is persuaded to sue her hairdressers for barring clients in wheelchairs. Jas, unaware of the problem until the last moment, leaves the salon in tears after a confrontation with the owner. Ambitious Jon soon attracts a sinister stalker and is reduced to a wreck. He fears for his life, unlike Jas, who should before two strangers leave her and her lawsuit dead in the water.
Kerb Crawling is a dark comedy of (bad) manners and builds to a breathless conclusion. It hides a vital question. If fate frowns upon you one day, how would you like to be labelled?
I suppose you can say the key thing about the novel is that the main character (or heroine if you want) is disabled. It is good to see a book which focuses on a disabled person but isn’t a sob story. I can’t really think of another book which does focus on a physically disabled person, which probably means I haven’t read one good enough to stick in my mind rather than that they don’t exist. I’m pretty certain the majority of what is around is really about how hard it is to be disabled. in Kerb Crawling however you could almost forget that Jas was disabled. Generally speaking it was more a story about the friends of Jas, and her. Sure there was the disability element, and I suppose that was the hook but I don’t think that was really the important thing. I think what needed to be said to do with her disability was said, and it was the aspect that got the story going as it were but it ceased to really be important.
The whole conspiracy aspect I did find a little far fetched if I am honest. However it added an element of action which kept the story going, and I suppose it underlined how something which can seem like a small issue can actually have a wide reach. In a way it parallels the lack of access for disabled people. It may not seem like much if one place doesn’t have disabled access, or if one person takes a disabled parking space that they don’t need but if everybody thought like that it would make life a lot harder for the disabled. Even just one person thinking it can make that true of a few disabled people. So maybe that wasn’t such an unnesscersary elemet after all. I think all the drugs were though, can’t say I liked that.
Paperback ($6.49) (U.S only)
Just understood when getting those links another reason why it’s called Kerb Crawling. Have a look see if you can work it out.