Edie Eckhart is 11 years old. She and her best friend Oscar, from whom she is inseparable – or so she thinks – are due to start secondary school very soon. Edie also has cerebral palsy. She can walk but her gait is described by the author as a bit wobbly. When she and Oscar reach school she discovers to her horror that the two of them have been placed in different forms. Can Edie cope? How will this new situation change their friendship? What new interest will the two of them discover?
As a character Edie jumps off the page. She will grab the reader’s attention from the first page of Jones’s book to the last. Disability plays a central part in this novel. However, the emphasis on disability, though pronounced, is carefully restrained from blocking out other aspects of the schoolchildren’s lives. Jones for example includes a Lesbian relationship in her novel. There is also among the characters a disabled adult.
Jones uses Edie’s disability to make two important points rarely covered in children’s literature. She introduces the idea of what she calls ‘the disability card’. When Edie wants to escape from some task or other, she can advance her disability as an argument for avoiding the task, however unjustifiably. On one occasion Edie does play this card dishonestly, an incident which this reviewer found distasteful. Later Jones has Edie regret this action. Jones poses a question which is most intriguing. One of the children asks Edie if she were not disabled what sort of person would she be. Any disabled reader will ponder that question.