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Accidents of Nature by Harriet McBryde…

Accidents of Nature (2006)

by Harriet McBryde Johnson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1771967,048 (3.85)14
  1. 10
    Too Late to Die Young: Nearly True Tales from a Life by Harriet McBryde Johnson (SylviaC)
    SylviaC: Familiarity with Harriet McBryde Johnson's autobiography adds a fascinating dimension to her novel.
  2. 00
    Rules by Cynthia Lord (bookel)
  3. 00
    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (SylviaC)
    SylviaC: Both books have the same dark humour, and contain strong messages about humanity and disability.
  4. 00
    Mine for Keeps by Jean Little (bookel)
  5. 00
    The Acorn People by Ron Jones (infiniteletters)
  6. 00
    A Handful of Stars by Barbara Girion (bookel)

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» See also 14 mentions

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In the audio version reader Jenna Lamia brings the story to full, well-rounded life. At this disability summer camp, the kids are not to be pitied or praised for their courage, but accepted as who they are, foibles and all. Very sharp story; characters are funny and human.

Jean has cerebral palsy and attends a regular high school in North Carolina. In the summer of 1970 she attends a camp for kids with various disabilities. It's her first experience being around so many others who are also handicapped. She meets Sara who has muscular dystrophy and is in her eighth summer at Camp Courage. Sara is an intelligent, opinionated activist when it comes to demanding respect for people with disabilities. She agitates in the camp against the patronizing, everyone-is-a-winner attitude of the camp staff. Jean, who has more experience in the "norm" world than Sara, doesn't always agree with her ideas but they do change her perspective on the world as a "crip." Author is also disabled. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
Nuanced and engaging portrait of that moment in time before people got that telethons suck. Also before people got that "mixing the races" was no big deal. The narrator's syrupy southern accent was a bit distracting, as were the Mary Sue tendencies of Sara, but overall I enjoyed the story of Jean's awakening. I dug the insight into the struggles of Jean, who has CP, to communicate, and how it felt when her body didn't go along with the wishes of her mind. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Excellent characterizations, engaging story. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
Having always prided herself on blending in with “normal” people despite her cerebral palsy, seventeen-year-old Jean begins to question her role in the world while attending a summer camp for children with disabilities.

Thought-provoking story that challenges the reader’s prejudices and assumptions about people with disabilities. Written by real-life advocate, Harriet McBryde Johnson, who herself attended cross-disability summer camps as a teenager.

A funny, angry, iconoclastic camp story not just for young adults. The only caveat I have is that the publishers have not made it clear that the time is the 1970s. References to MRs (mentally retarded people) and a tendency to condescend towards the African American campers will seem egregious to the modern-day reader if not forewarned.

The title comes from Eleanor Roosevelt:

“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, But beautiful old people are works of art”
7.5 Hopefully this book will pique your curiosity about the author who was also a, lawyer, public speaker, disability rights activist, famous for (among other things) boycotting the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy telethons. ( )
  julie10reads | Feb 17, 2012 |
The book “Accidents of Nature” is a highly realistic contemporary fiction novel. The plot is based on the experience of Jean; a 17 year old girl who was born with Cerebral Palsy who had her lifestyle adapted to that of a normal person and never considered herself disabled. Due to certain circumstances, Jean is sent to “Camp Courage”, a camp for disabled people. Jean being a student of a “normal” school and living in the company of” normal” friends has never seen any disabled person, besides herself. While adjusting to the new lifestyle she meets Sara who has a different perception than Jean about life and her views especially about the insensitiveness of the society towards people with disabilities. Her stay at “Camp Courage” later changes her whole meaning and beliefs about life. I personally liked this book a lot and I believe it is more than just a normal contemporary fiction book since it is an honest, thought provoking novel that provides us with a sentimental insight into the life of handicapped people and tells us how they cope up. It is a must- read novel for all teenagers between the age group of 13 to 20, but I would highly recommend this novel to people of all ages.
  15anushreem | Feb 20, 2011 |
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In the middle of North Carolina, there is a beach that has no ocean.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805076344, Hardcover)

I'm in the middle of a full-blown spaz-attack, and I don't care. I don't care at all. At home I always try to act normal, and spaz-attacks definitely aren't normal. Here, people understand. They know a spaz-attack signals that I'm
excited. They're excited too, so they squeal with me; some even spaz on purpose, if you can call that spazzing . . .
An unforgettable coming-of-age novel about what it's like to live with a physical disability

It's the summer of 1970. Seventeen-year-old Jean has cerebral palsy, but she's always believed she's just the same as everyone else. She's never really known another disabled person before she arrives at Camp Courage. As Jean joins a community unlike any she has ever imagined, she comes to question her old beliefs and look at the world in a new light. The camp session is only ten days long, but that may be all it takes to change a life forever.

Henry Holt published Harriet McBryde Johnson's adult memoir, Too Late to Die Young, in April 2005. Ms. Johnson has been featured in The New York Times Magazine and has been an activist for disability rights for many years.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:19 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Having always prided herself on blending in with "normal" people despite her cerebral palsy, seventeen-year-old Jean begins to question her role in the world while attending a summer camp for children with disabilities.

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