Book Review: We Are All Welcome Here

April of 2006, a friend of mine told me about a book she was reviewing for The Virginian-Pilot Newspaper. She said it was about a woman who contracted polio when she was pregnant and gave birth in an iron lung! I was intrigued and asked if I could borrow the book when she was done writing her review. The next day she brought it to me.

So I started reading this book 4 nights ago, finishing it tonight. I am so mad at myself for not picking it up sooner! My only incentive to finally start reading it was because I just bought Sam's Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson. I told myself I couldn't start a book I had bought until I finished one I had borrowed...

So anyway, it's titled We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg. Elizabeth Berg writes fiction, but recieved a letter from a remarkable woman who offered a book idea to her. Elizabeth didn't like that as she is a fictional novelist only and liked to come up with her own book ideas. The lovely lady asked her to write her mother's life story. Her mother was a quadriplegic. Elizabeth was so captivated by the story then interviews this woman for more details and ideas. The book is indeed fiction, but based on true characters who have inspired me, the reader.

Diana Dunn was born in an iron lung. Her father leaves her mother, Paige, shortly after her birth. He offered to adopt the baby girl, but Paige refuses and vows that she will raise the baby on her own (even though she's a quadriplegic surviving on a respirator).

Able to move only her head, Paige requires round-the-clock nursing care that social services barely cover. Paige is a happy, wise and vibrant woman, mother and friend... even in the face of mighty trials as a quadriplegic. At the young age of 13, Diana has taken over the night shift to save them money, sharing her mother's care with a unique and loyal day worker, Peacie, who is protective of Paige and tough on Diana.

It's an interesting and down-to-earth family dynamic. Like being a fly on the wall, I've learned much from their selfless lifestyle. There are many lessons to learn from this book, but the one that stood out for me, at this point in my life was this:
"Oh, Diana. Money's just money. Once you have shelter from the elements and clothes to wear and food to eat, it's all one-upsmanship, that's all--status and game-playing. Whose house is bigger? Whose clothes are nicer? Whose car is shiniest? What difference does is make really?"
I highly recommend this book. I am sure it's at your local library and it's most certainly on


Anna said...

That sounds like an awesome book. I really might have to pick that one up..I've been wanting to read a book lately..its been so long since I've done it. Thanx for the review! Oh, and that passage you typed out...SOOO true. We all need to read that sometimes.

The Wooden Porch said...

I just requested it from the library! :-) I requested it on CD. Is it okay for my daughter to hear too?

I'll work on that pic you sent me. I'm not sure if I can do it, but I'll try. I keep meaning to email you about it.

Nicole said...

This sounds like a winner. I'm going today to check it out at the library. (I'm cheap!!)

I want to hear about the James Patterson one. I LOVE his books.