AHEAD 2014-Book Discussion

Disabilities Portrayal in Contemporary Fiction: An Ongoing Discussion

Presenters: Edith F. Miller and Julianne Walton, Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society

This presentation is the third in a series that reviews fiction for the portrayal of characters with disabilities. Books from different genres which portray characters with disabilities as non-stereotypical and positive have been selected based on the following criteria:

  1. Work and characters must be fictional; biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, and historical fiction are excluded.
  2. Fiction must be directed toward an adult audience; children’s and adolescent fiction are excluded.
  3. The work must be contemporary fiction, preferably published since 2000, but definitely post-ADA.
  4. The character with a disability must be an adult and a protagonist, or main character.
  5. The character with a disability must be three-dimensional and engage in the same type of experiences, problems, emotions and relationships as have countless fictional characters without disabilities.

The following books have been chosen:

  • The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
  • 1222 by Anne Holt
  • Unseen by Karin Slaughter
  • The King by J. R. Ward (Adult content)

Please feel free to read one or more of the books to engage in the discussion.

Annotated Bibliography from AHEAD 2012.

Discussion Questions:

The Cuckoo’s Calling – Cormoran Strike

  1. How does Strike’s prosthesis function as both a protection and a barrier for social interaction?
  2. How does, or does Strike’s perspective of his disability change during the book?

1222 – Hanne Wilhelmsen

  1. What do you think of Hanne’s assessment of her disability, and its effect on her and the people around her?
  2. The setting is obviously quite crucial to the novel: discuss the role it plays in the story, especially as relates to Hanne.

Unseen – Will Trent

  1. How does Will compensate for his disability?
  2. How does Will view himself because of his disability?

The King – J.R. Ward

  1. How does Wrath use or not use his disability as a warrior king?
  2. How does his disability affect his view of Beth’s desire to have a child?

Dark Lover by J.R. Ward is the first book with Wrath as the protagonist and Lover Avenged is the book where Wrath loses his sight and gets George.

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Linked In Group: Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society ask me to join Julianne “Juli” Walton