Brittle Never Broken is an inspirational, tragic, and beautiful story of an extraordinarily life lived with a debilitating disability.
An inspiring memoir about living with a severe disability, LaViza Lockwood’s Brittle Never Broken is full of ups and downs, breaks and breakdowns.
With her femur broken twice shortly after her birth, Lockwood receives a diagnosis of osteogenesis imperfecta well before her first birthday. It is an incurable and excruciatingly painful disease, most commonly known as brittle bone disease.
Doctors question her mother, Fran, blaming the broken bones on her mental instability and and charging her with child abuse. After LaViza’s bleak diagnosis, Fran is cleared of the abuse charges. She takes LaViza to live in Chicago with her two other children, determined to control her demons.
Descriptions of Fran’s mental illness are heart wrenching. They include stints in asylums and the moment that she contemplated killing her infant daughter.
From her first fractured femur and through numerous arduous surgeries, each broken bone in Lockwood’s life strengthens her determination and willpower. Her family lives in dangerous projects, facing oppressive poverty.
Lockwood is constantly in and out of the hospital as a child, making education virtually impossible. As she matures, her broken bones become less frequent. She excels in her education and has a relatively standard adolescence, full of friendships and boyfriends, experimentation, curiosity, and typical hormonal teenage behavior.
Lockwood traces her story as she builds a successful life for herself, even through extensive trips to hospitals and doctors and despite her severely restricted mobility. Being described as brittle but never broken comes to seem perfect; she is shown to be a courageous woman who makes up for her brittle bones with a tough attitude and an impenetrable spirit.
Lockwood begins her narration with her voice as a young girl, and her sentence structures and vocabulary are elementary early on. As she matures, so does the narration; her writing becomes more complex, subtly demonstrating her dedication to her education.
Dialogue is minimal, but animated conversations between the people in Lockwood’s life are still imaginative and realistic, flowing naturally. Her friends, family members, and acquaintances are captured outstandingly, each written with their own vivid personalities. They are an entertaining, interesting, and dynamic mix.
Stylish, creative, and concise writing makes for effortless reading, though attention to daily details sometimes slows the story, and struggles that repeat can become tedious to read about. There is no clear climatic moment; instead, the book opts for a slow, measured build to Lockwood’s adult successes.
Brittle Never Broken is an inspirational, tragic, and beautiful story of an extraordinary life lived with a debilitating disability.
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