The Write Man for Her

The Write Man for Her - Christie Walker Bos Finally, a romance that doesn't treat disability as a horrendous, life-ruining, angst-inducing quality.Set adrift after her marriage dissolves, Jessica Singer has been all work and no play. At her best friend's urging to get out of her rut and enjoy life a bit more, she signs up for an online creative writing class taught through a local college. As the weeks go by, she grows more and more fascinated with the handsome professor in the video. Not only is he handsome, but he's a quick wit, and someone she enjoys arguing with in the class' weekly discussion forums. Bolstered by her BFF's cheerleading, she sets out to meet him in person. Brant Wilson, however, isn't having it. Left paralyzed and relying on a wheelchair since a bicycle accident, he makes it a rule to not meet his students in person. While part of it is that he wants to be seen simply as Professor Wilson rather than the disabled professor, the other part is a fear of being wrongfully accused of misconduct, as a student had done to him in the past. When Jess finally runs him aground, however, he's too intrigued by the headstrong woman to push her away. What I liked best about the novel was how the hero was paralyzed, but that the disability did not define him. He was a man, first and foremost, and an English professor second. His disability was far down the totem pole to be as much of a logistical matter as it was a character-altering state. None of the romantic conflict revolves around his two-wheeled state, he is not consumed by angst, and Jess is not made out to be a better person for wanting to date a cripple. He's a man, she's a woman, and they're drawn together for all the same reasons men and women are drawn together - shared sense of humor, companionship and desire. Which is not to say the wheelchair or disability is glossed over or forgotten. It's certainly a part of who he is. His wife left him after he was paralyzed because she wasn't happy with being married to a less than whole man, and the experience causes him to be wary of Jess' initial overtures. They encounter poor attitudes and accessibility issues. But, the book avoids defining the relationship by his injury or lecturing the reader with awkward info dumps on living with SCI (I'm glaring at you, Catherine Anderson.) A few things hold it back from being a great, rather than good book. It is a sweet romance, in that the sex is fade to black. Was this just a stylistic choice, or does it speak to the author's discomfort with disabled sex? In either case, I thought it robbed the reader of a valuable insight into the characters' relationship. Did Jess enjoy having to do all the "work?" What went through their heads as they experienced sex in this new way? How, if at all, was it different than able-bodied sex for them? I needed that knowledge and was disappointed at its exclusion. It was still an enjoyable romance to read, and the author's fair treatment of living with SCI was a welcome breath of fresh air. Despite its flaws, I'd still recommend it to anyone who loves a good straight contemporary romance that focuses on internal conflict.