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Stuck in Neutral by [Terry Trueman]
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Stuck in Neutral Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 186 ratings
Book 1 of 2 in Stuck in Neutral

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Length: 140 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled
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Age Level: 13 and up Grade Level: 8 - 9
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Editorial Reviews Review

Fourteen-year-old Shawn McDaniel loves the taste of smoked oysters and his mother's gentle hugs. Unfortunately, it's impossible for Shawn to feed himself or to hug his mom back. Shawn has cerebral palsy, a condition he has had since birth that has robbed him of all muscle control. He can't walk, talk, or even focus his eyes on his own. But despite all these handicaps, despite the frustration of not being able to communicate, Shawn is still happy to be alive: "Somehow all the things I think about and remember turn to joy... favorite movies... pinecones... chocolate pudding... the scent of Comet in a stainless steel sink.... Life can be great, even for me. Even for me." That is why he panics when he begins to suspect that his father is thinking of killing him. Shawn knows that his father is trying to be kind; he imagines that his son's life is an endless torment. His dad has no idea of the rich life that Shawn lives inside his head. And Shawn, helpless and mute, has no way of telling him.

Stuck in Neutral is a truly unique journey into the mind of a truly unique character. Shawn McDaniel, who is literally trapped in his own body, will serve as a powerful metaphor for teens who feel cornered by circumstances or their own physical shortcomings. Terry Trueman's first-person portrayal of Shawn is made all the more poignant by the fact that Trueman's own son, Henry, also suffers from cerebral palsy. This is an original and moving debut. (Ages 11 to 15) --Jennifer Hubert --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 9-Up While this reading of the book by Terry Trueman (HarperCollins, 2000) follows the Printz Honor book to the letter, hearing it transforms the experience completely. Narrator Johnny Heller's voice is suited perfectly for the protagonist, 14-year-old Shawn McDaniel, who is totally incapacitated due to cerebral palsy. Listeners come to know him - his humor, ennui, and selflessness - only though the soliloquies that he has with himself inside his own mind. While he can't communicate and his family considers him a "vegetable," he is actually very intelligent and completely aware of his surroundings. Shawn believes that his father is going to kill him to end his suffering. This painful dive into a profoundly existential dilemma is only bearable through the sound of the narrator's voice. Heller's vocal quality infuses a vitality, resiliency, and stark honesty that are so much a part of adolescence. While pathos and, oftentimes, depression permeate this story, the dry and self-deprecating humor of Shawn that Heller captures so well helps to mitigate the suffering. While Heller's voice epitomizes Shawn, it does not distinguish itself among the other characters. This is especially apparent when Shawn's father, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, reads his poem throughout the narrative; listeners who have not read the book may be confused. Using two narrators to mark this important distinction would have added to the powerfully dynamic father-son relationship. Listening to the tape is such an intense experience and the topic of euthanasia is so complex that the audiobook would be most suitable for a high school audience. While this can be a pedagogical tool for high school classes on issues of euthanasia, teachers should listen to the tape before assigning it. -Tina Hudak, St. Bernard's School, Riverdale, MD
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the cassette edition.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Good book!
Reviewed in Germany on November 22, 2016
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