The current issue of the Literary Review of Canada carries a thoughtful overview and commentary on The Four Walls of My Freedom by Donna Thomson. Thanks to Alastair Cheng, LRC's Managing Editor, who passed along this electronic version of the review, Defining A Good Life.
This has to be encouraging news for first time author Thomson. She had a highly successful Eastern Canada book tour in October including an absorbing discussion with John Ralston Saul at the Toronto Writers Festival.
Still life remains challenging for Donna and her family, particularly for her son Nicholas. Donna's absorbing blog captures the day to day challenges of being a mother and caregiver to a son who endures incalculable pain. In a recent post she describes spending the afternoon listening to Def Leopard with Nicholas (his choice) while waiting word on the scheduling of another of his many life or death surgeries. Real life here, no romance but joy, gratitude and courage.
Here's a quote from the review to whet your appetite. It sums up the conflict between Donna as caregiver and mother and Donna as multi – talented artist, intellectual and author.
The fact that Thomson lasted for 18 years in the role of full-time caregiver before hitting her limit does not mean that she should have been exploited in this way by the state. The current situation, as she points out, essentially pits the rights and freedoms of disabled children against those of their mothers and, of course (because of the children’s greater dependency), the mothers consistently lose.