by Susan Nussbaum

Reviewer Rating:
5

Review

This book was incredible. Taking the voices of several teenagers living in a juvenile nursing home and the stories of a few assistants working at the facility, Nussbaum weaves together a narrative that reads much like a documentary film. Each character tells their story in such an authentic voice, I could picture each one speaking to me directly, telling me a story.  The teenagers in the story have faced such horrible circumstances and become victims of an overly bureaucratic system where costs are more important than lives. Lacking basic autonomy, the teens are left to become institutionalized, never being educated beyond basic requirements, subject to the whims of their caretakers. It takes trauma, death and courage for the word to spread that there is a way to find empowerment as a young person with disabilities, and even in this isolated place, there’s hope.
Exposing the horrors of institutional abuse and neglect, this story brings light to the experiences of young people with disabilities and the difficulty they and their families face as they experience poverty and a lack of resources. By highlighting legal options and advocacy, Nussbaum reminds us that change is possible when we organize and do what’s right.

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