Monday, June 25, 2007

We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg

cover image from LibraryThing
A very interesting premise...a woman contracts polio in the 8th month of her pregnancy. She gives birth while in an iron lung. Then she chooses to raise the baby while a paraplegic.

That’s the background to this story and it’s based on a letter recieved by Elizabeth Berg written by the daughter of just such a woman. So, Elizabeth based her character on an actual woman.

That's the reality... the story diverges from there.

Diana Dunn is dealing with life as the dughter of a quad.  After her birth her dad ran off. Diana and her mom are cared for by Peacy, an angry black woman in 1964 Mississippi. As Diana grows she and Peacy trade more and more words. Then Peacy's boy friend La Rue learns to read and begins to help with the Freedom Marches. Peacy eventually realizes, with the sheriff's help, that they need to move.

So Diana was going to be given to foster care. But the unbelievable happens - Diana's Mom had cared for Elvis's Mom in the hospital before she had polio. Diana wrote many a letter to Elvis and one actually made it through. Elvis showed up - and gave them money and solved their problems.

Interesting and impossible. But it's even more amazing because it's based on a real woman - one with 3 children!!


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