Book Review: Truly Wildly Deeply By Jenny McLachlan  

Published by Bloomsbury

Annie, the narrator, has cerebral palsy. She can walk short distances but uses a wheelchair for convenience. All her life she has fought – and fought hard – to be seen as Annie rather than as a disabled person. She’s feisty, very bright and good fun. The novel opens as she starts college.

We’ve met Annie before – tangentially. She was a friend of Meg’s in Stargazing for Beginners which we reviewed last year here at Ink Pellet as well as interviewing author, Jenny McLachlan. Now we learn a lot more about her feistiness, independence and love of literature, especially Wuthering Heights which she is studying in her A level English class.

It isn’t what she wants,  because a relationship would, she thinks, compromise her,  but this is also a girl-meets-boy story. McLachan has done brilliantly with the creation of Fab, the intense, earnest, cheerful Polish boy who confronts his family problems by trying to smile them away and doesn’t quite understand English manners. He too is very taken with both Wuthering Heights and Annie and gradually, something real develops between these two individualists.

At a time when so much nonsense is being bandied about by politicians, it’s a real pleasure to read a novel which deals with both disability and race with such warmth and sensitivity. These are, of course, people with human needs and feelings and McLachlan makes them very real.

Review by Susan Elkin