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Review of Alter Ego by Helen Heckety

New Year’s Eve was the night that changed everything. The night Hattie realised she’d had enough of the pity and the explaining and so she came up with The Plan. She will move to a remote cabin in Wales, get a new job with new friends and most importantly, she won’t tell any of them she is disabled. 

Hattie was diagnosed with a rare condition that affects her muscles when she was very young. This was also around the same time her dad died from sepsis due to medical negligence, a fact which haunts Hattie constantly. Her friends and family try to understand but it never feels like enough, and mostly, she feels exhausted from asking hem to do so. How hard could it be to start a new life anyway? She’s already half way there with her imaginary new boyfriend and made-up job. In reality, she’s suffering through living in an AirBnB she struggles to access the front door of and lying to her new colleagues in the A&E reception about why she’s so slow, and why she absentmindedly parked in the blue badge space and can’t walk the ten minutes to the pub for post-work drinks (that she also shouldn’t really have). Meanwhile, the ghosts of her old life are catching up with her and it’s all getting a bit much to maintain...

Helen Heckety writes beautifully on friendship but also on the frustrations in the minutiae of everyday disabled life. Not only is this an important read in terms of representation and understanding, but it also captures what it means to begin to accept yourself and let go of relationships where there is no room for growth. I thought the narrative arc was executed perfectly and I loved the wholesomeness of the ending. I would highly recommend this novel and anything else Helen Heckety writes.

Review by Abi.

Alter Ego was published on 18/07/24 by Renegade.




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