15-Word Review: A mother’s thoughtful examination of society’s responsibility to people with disabilities and their family caregivers.
150-Word Review: The Four Walls of My Freedomlooks like it’s going to be a straightforward parenting memoir, with a photo of the family on the front and a glossy section of family photos in the middle. But after a chapter introducing the author and her son, who has cerebral palsy, it quickly develops into a much more philosophical look at what makes human beings human, how that understanding needs to be tweaked for individuals with severe disabilities, and how society can best accommodate them and also extend a lifeline to the parents who unexpectedly become 24/7 caregivers, with no hope of retirement. Author Thomson does share stories from her son’s life throughout to illustrate the challenges they’ve faced and the questions raised. But she’s more interested in examining some theories of humanness, and some government policies, and making some challenges of her own in the name of justice and human rights.
Is This Book for You?
- It’s definitely for you if: your personal story is similar to Thomson’s and you’re wrestling with these issues too.
- It may be for you if: you’re interested in reading about disability rights and how people with disabilities can be accommodated and valued.
- It may not be for you if: you’re uncomfortable with philosophy on disability being framed and debated solely by people without disabilities.
- It’s definitely not for you if: you’re up to your ears in issues different than these and are more interested in practical advice than big thinking.
Table of Contents
- The Beginning
- Amartya Sen and the Capability Approach
- Beginning to Think Differently
- A Plan for the Future
- I Am Loved, Therefore I Am
- Worthy of Dignity
- Some Mother’s Child
- Welcome to Holland
- Nicholas and Capability
- The Prison of Pain
- The Injustice of Pain
- Learning and Belonging
- Capable Me
- Dependency Matters
- Being Well
- Good Ideas and Practical Solutions
Quick Quote: “Many parents will identify with me when I talk about Nicholas’ contribution to the quality of my life, especially to my spiritual wellbeing. I am a better person for loving him and caring for him. But certainly I cannot say that because I have cared for my son, and consequently increased capacities for selflessness in myself by virtue of attending to his needs, that either of us would wish to claim that as his contribution to life in general.”