Katy – Jacqueline Wilson

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Screen Shot 2017-09-03 at 13.06.56I love this book, probably my favourite Jaqueline Wilson book.The representation of the disabled protagonist is stunning, realistic and believable. I believe this book is a  marvellous way to introduce a child to physical disabilities or help them to understand and accept that there is nothing wrong with having a disability.

Jacqueline Wilson is a brilliant children’s writer and like many successful writers, she has a range of stunning to less successful books.

Unlike most of her other work, Katy is not an original story. It is a rewritten version of What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge. While I have not read Coolidge’s book personally, Wilson explains the differences between the two books, with the main difference being how the protagonists adapt and accept life as a disabled individual.

Being disabled myself, this is a major importance to me. I’ve read books in the same era as Coolidge with disabled characters, and just like hers, they miraculously recover after doing a good deed or two (more of this coming at a later date). Wilson is more realistic. She wants her audience to understand that the world does not work this way, you’re not disabled because you’ve done something bad, and you can’t be healed by doing good. This has made it so that the characters in the story have had to develop and change in other ways.

Most of the character development is based on Katy, but the things Katy does and says develop the other characters too.

Before the accident, Katy is a lively twelve-year-old girl who constantly argues with her stepmother. When the rest of the family goes swimming and Katy decides not to go, she goes into the secret garden she made with her siblings and falls off a rope swing. This leaves her badly hurt and she is left with a permanent injury that prevents her from walking again.

Katy struggles with her new sense of reality, hating that she is unable to do the stuff she really enjoys. She refuses to go to school because she would not be able to participate in many of the things her friends would be doing and doesn’t want to go to a specialist school. Her stepmother, Izzy has to give up on her job to look after Katy, which proves to be an endless stress for both of them. Katy originally blames Izzy for her accident because Izzy confiscated her skateboard, preventing her from going out with her friends.

Eventually, Izzy invite the family friend and patient of her father’s, Helen, in the hope that it would help her accept her new condition. Immediately, there is a contrast between the two characters. Katy self-hates herself, forever wishing to be normal again. She struggles to accept that she won’t be able to walk again and therefore is mostly in a bad mood when socialising with family members or her school friends.However, after spending time with Helen, Katy realises that while Helen does occasionally need help, she is able to do things and still be independent by inventing tricks and techniques that makes the task easier and this intrigues Katy.

Izzy’s and Katy’s relationship changes as Katy becomes more comfortable with her disability and they spend quality time with each other by making purses. Even though Katy is often in a bad mood, she has a lot of support from her family, and her friends Helen and Decter. Dexter is a boy she met at the hospital who also had an accident and became paralysed, they connect and email each other as they adapt. She is also supported by her love interest, Ryan, the boy she was going to meet before her accident. Ryan treats her the same as he did before her disability whereas her best friend treats her differently.

Even though Katy is often in a bad mood, she has a lot of support from her family, and her friends Helen and Decter. Dexter is a boy she met at the hospital who also had an accident and became paralysed, they connect and email each other as they adapt. She is also supported by her love interest, Ryan, the boy she was going to meet before her accident. Ryan treats her the same as he did before her disability whereas her best friend treats her differently. This helps Katy to learn how to accept her disability and still be the person she was before the accident. Inspired by Helen, Katy

This helps Katy to learn how to accept her disability and still be the person she was before the accident. Inspired by Helen, Katy learns how to adapt and create workarounds. She also learns who her true friends are. At School, Katy is fussed over by all the students and is given a peer-mentor to show her where everything is in the school. Unfortunately for her, it is her primary school enemy (The story starts when she is at the end of year 6). She discovers that her favourite subjects have become more challenging and the subjects she was bad at before are more interesting.

At School, Katy is fussed over by all the students and is given a peer-mentor to show her where everything is in the school. Unfortunately for her, it is her primary school enemy (The story starts when she is at the end of year 6). She discovers that her favourite subjects have become more challenging and the subjects she was bad at before are more interesting. She has a P.E (Physical Education) teacher that tries to be all inclusive and so he invents a sport for her to join in. When she

She has a P.E (Physical Education) teacher that tries to be all inclusive and so he invents a sport for her to join in. When she accidently hurts a student, the head teacher stops Katy from joining in. .

 

Conclusion

This book is great as it represents an individual with a disability as someone who is more than their disability. The character has to come to terms with who she is and while she does that she realises who are her true friends. The whole experience makes it so that she is wiser than she was before her accident.

The characters are great, all of them unique and varied in their own way and each of them grows as Katy adapts and grows herself. It is a beautiful story that is well-written and holds a possitive but realistic message for children who are discovering differences and disabilities.

     

Amazon | Waterstones |Blackwells

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