Tuesday, July 27, 2021

How Lucky by Will Leitch

How Lucky by Will Leitch feels full of contradictions, with those combining together into a really good novel. 

It's about someone with SMA, or spinal muscular atrophy, a disease that typically has symptoms appear in early childhood and eventually leaves a person confined to a wheelchair, unable to speak. They're mentally sharp, but with a body that didn't sign up for the ride. It's described in the book as akin to Lou Gehrig's Disease, or ALS, but with it coming much earlier in life and having a much longer deterioration period. Also, SMA is a progressive disease, once a body part fails, that function is gone, and that's the way it's going to remain. 

Along with being about someone who has a debilitating disease, the book also is a nice story, one about someone living their life, the people who love them and they love in turn. The best people in the main character's life are those who don't feel sorry for him, but treat him like the real person he is.

Leitch set the book in his town of Athens, Georgia and noted writing it after his friends had a child with SMA. The story is a lot of  things, it's a mystery about an abduction, funny, and heartwarming, with the main character narrating "I have helped people, and I have people who have helped me."