Sunday, August 31, 2008

Riding the Bus with My Sister

This is a really important book! A tragicomic true-life account of the often difficult relationship between a single career woman and her mentally retarded adult sister. I missed seeing the Hallmark Hall of Fame adaptation a few years back, but it must have made a great movie.

Rachel Simon's youngest sister suffered brain damage during a difficult birth, but Beth grows up full of life and determined to live on her own terms. She insists on living in her own apartment, has a long-time boyfriend, refuses to work, wear a bra or eat vegetables, and drives her family to distraction.

Beth's daily occupation is riding buses around town and she asks - dares - Rachel to spend time with her by riding with her. Whether from guilt over past neglect or exhaustion from her own harried life, Rachel agrees to ride with her several days each week - for a year.

What Rachel learns about Beth, about life for the mentally retarded, about bus riders and drivers - good and bad, and about herself is by turns fascinating, sad, and funny.

With a young nephew facing the same issues for the mentally retarded, I found this to be a real eye-opener. I have new respect for the courage needed to navigate the world today when you're "different."

1 comment:

  1. Oh! This looks like a good one! I'm going to look it up at the local library. If the library doesn't have it, I may actually buy it!


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