A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern | Teen Ink

A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern

January 4, 2016
By AWriterOfWords DIAMOND, Hamburg, New Jersey
AWriterOfWords DIAMOND, Hamburg, New Jersey
59 articles 13 photos 9 comments

We all want to be heroes, but how many of us would step up and be a hero when the moment arises? For Emily and Lucas, a football player, they are not heroes in the moment, but panic and freeze. But when the truth comes out that they were both present and did not act, they are punished for being bystanders. Their punishment is to volunteer at a community center for people with disabilities, in hopes that if a similar situation ever arose again, they would be more prepared. Meanwhile, Belinda copes by not talking about it because it makes her relive the horrible experience. Rather than going back to school, she copes by watching Pride and Prejudice, pretending her life was part of the film. After gaining the courage from Mr. Firth to return to school, she must face those who did not help her at the time, but who desperately want to help her now to make amends.
The most defining feature of A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern is the theme of people with disabilities. Have you ever noticed how disabilities are almost an entirely invisible topic in literature? Right now, you’re probably thinking about it and reluctantly realizing that disabilities are often overlooked. For people with disabilities, like myself, it is welcoming to see literature geared towards the problems that we face. My disability is physical, primarily effecting my hand, but having literature on disabilities is vital, despite it being different from my specific case.
Cammie McGovern does wonderful to portray disabilities in her novel. The story unfolds in two perspectives, and one of the perspectives is from the point of view from a person with a disability. This move is empowering as it shows that those with disabilities are capable of thought and understanding and allows a window into understanding their experiences. By incorporating the community service with those with disabilities, a range of disabilities with varying degrees is presented to understand that each person is affected differently. Cammie McGovern truly captures her own experiences running a center for those with disabilities to make it realistic and heartfelt.
In my opinion, it was one of my favorite books of 2016. That may not be saying much since it is only January, but it is a book that will stay with me. I will remember the experiences presented and the emotions I felt throughout the reading. I wish for more authors to follow Cammie McGovern’s lead and bring disabilities to the forefront of literature. This should be a mandatory read in school for those to understand people with disabilities better as it is such an accurate representation. My only wish, which is not involved with the writing of the story, is that more places like the center in the story for those with disabilities were readily available for people to volunteer at and understand that disabilities are not a defining factor, but one layer that makes up a person. I highly recommend this moving read to anyone from any age group, because you will be moved and perhaps understand those with disabilities better.


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