The Girl in the Iron Lung

The Girl in the Iron Lung CoverThe Girl in the Iron Lung

Gail Thornton

Genre: Memoir

ISBN: 978-1-62582-018-1

To a five-year-old child, the world is all defined in absolutes. There are no degrees of any feelings, no combination of some of this and some of that, to make life less scary.

Now, imagine yourself, as a child of five, suddenly unable to move your arms or legs, unable to breathe on your own, taken by your parents to a large, scary building and left there in the clutches of this big, loud machine that swallows you up. What could be worse?

Perhaps, the fear you have become defective and your parents have traded you in for a daughter that works right, can walk, can reach out and show how worthy she is of their love.

You barely have an idea of what life is all about, much less the loneliness, the despair, the fear, the knowledge you have this awful thing called “polio.”

Suddenly, you are thrust into a world where your parents seem to be afraid and mad at you at the same time, where other adults display their quirks in doses so large, sometimes you really can’t take it.

Thornton tells this true story so well, you become that child. It is you undergoing all the pain and hurts and sadness. And it is you who moved from the scariest moment any child could experience through to the triumphant young lady who had learned the skill of looking back and realizing how far she has come!

The Girl in the Iron Lung is a coming of age story, not of a young adult, of a child of five who learns really quickly, and usually the hard way, what it means to grow up and take charge of her own life. And that is what makes this book such a compelling read.

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