For many, being born with a learning disability was a crime, or at least punishable as one. Their parents were not callous, uncaring people but were swayed by the popular and professional opinion that life in an institution was ‘in their best interests’, leaving them with a guilt that can only be understood by another parent. The bond was unaltered by disability and diagnosis and many were stuck, unable to grieve, unable to confide in others, unable to move on or pull their lives back to some sort of order and happiness.
In a world where intelligence brings freedom, Jess’ life is a continuous battle to prove her worth and capability. At 17 years of age, she is left at a long stay hospital when her mother dies in 1955. This book describes her development from naïve, innocent, immature and in many ways pampered child to an articulate, capable woman – whose strength and determination far outweigh the “intelligent” people around her. Just as the hospital becomes home her life is uprooted again by another well meaning individual who believes she knows what is in Jess’ best interests.