Saturday, October 02, 2010

Book Review: Thaw by Monica Roe

Book: Thaw
Author: Monica Roe
Published: 2008
Source: Local Library

A month ago, Dane was on top of the world. He was a champion skier with a hot girlfriend and a bright future. Then everything collapsed, starting with him. Dane has Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a sudden-onset neurological crisis that’s caused him to lose control of every muscle in his body.

From an athlete who was in total control of his life, Dane has become the closest thing to a vegetable. His girlfriend has dumped him, his friends are MIA, and his family’s shuttled him off to a Florida rehab hospital. Lying in the bed, there’s not much to do but think, and there’s not much to think about but where it all went wrong.

I'll be honest here: this protagonist was the biggest jerk I have ever met, on the page or off. And, y'all, I work in public service. He changes, but slowly, and we keep flashing back to his earlier jerkitude. It’s a heartless kind of Darwinism - to Dane, anyone who succeeds is worthy, and anyone who fails isn’t worth a second glance. He lumps asking for or offering help into the second category, expressing nothing but contempt for an injured skiing teammate and the members of the opposing team who help him down the mountain. You can imagine what this does to his self-image when he is struck down by this real-life syndrome.

It's a testament to Monica Roe's amazing writing that I kept reading and didn’t throw the book across the room. Dane is repugnant and compelling all at once, and his slow understanding of his own failings and weaknesses, and his baby steps toward repairing them, will suck you right in.

1 comment:

Trisha said...

And, y'all, I work in public service.

LOL. But I completely agree with you about Dane. Didn't like him, but found the way he gradually changed totally compelling.