So lucky

Nicola Griffith

Book - 2018

Mara Tagarelli is, professionally, the head of a multimillion-dollar AIDS foundation; personally, she is a committed martial artist. But her life has turned inside out like a sock. She can't rely on family, her body is letting her down, and friends and colleagues are turning away--they treat her like a victim. She needs to break that narrative: build her own community, learn new strengths, and fight. But what do you do when you find out that the story you've been told, the story you�...39;vetold yourself, is not true? How can you fight if you can't trust your body? Who can you rely on if those around you don't have your best interests at heart, and the systems designed to help do more harm than good? Mara makes a decision and acts, but her actions unleash monsters aimed squarely at the heart of her new community. This is fiction from the front lines, incandescent and urgent, a narrative juggernaut that rips through sentiment to expose the savagery of America's treatment of the disabled and chronically ill. But So Lucky also blazes with hope and a ferocious love of self, of the life that becomes possible when we stop believing lies.

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Subjects
Genres
Autobiographical fiction
Published
New York : MCD X FSG Originals, Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2018.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
180 pages ; 20 cm
ISBN
9780374265922
0374265925
Main Author
Nicola Griffith (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Multiple sclerosis is said to be the crippler of young adults, and in this searing autobiographical novel, Griffith (Hild, 2013) dramatizes just what it means to live with the devastating disease: the fatigue and the pain, but also the subsequent feelings of helplessness, melancholy, and rage. Even worse is the invisibility, the sense of being ignored or treated like a child, and the humiliating reliance on the kindness of strangers. By the time she turns 22, Mara has received the dreaded diagnosis. Eventually her wife leaves her, and Mara is struggling to keep up with a punishing work schedule as the head of a multimillion-dollar AIDS foundation. And then her life takes a deadly turn: a serial killer is targeting people with MS and her name is on an MS subscription list. But Mara makes a promise to herself: she will break the narrative. She will fight back and teach others to do the same. As she declares, "I. Am. Not. Less." Griffith, who has herself been diagnosed with MS, presents a fresh and powerful novel and antidote to the sense of victimhood. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

This affecting autobiographical novel from Griffith (Hild) recounts a proud and independent woman's struggle to lead a meaningful life despite a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Mara Tagarelli, the executive director of the nonprofit Georgia AIDS Partnership, is still dealing with her wife's ending their 14-year marriage when she gets the shocking news that she has relapsing-remitting MS, which is exacerbated by stress. After Mara circulates a budget with some inappropriate language she includes by accident, she's asked to step down from her position. Suddenly with too much time on her hands, Mara uses her familiarity with big pharma's misleading advertising to determine what medication might actually benefit her. A bad experience at a support group for people with MS leads Mara to create a new organization, the Cripples Action Team, "a flexible task force with an active, evolving mission to help disabled people help ourselves." While a subplot involving crimes against the disabled could have been dispensed with, the end product is a plausible warts-and-all portrayal of a person unwilling to let herself be defined by her illness. Anyone who's ever struggled with medical adversity will be inspired. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Gernert Company. (May) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Mara Tagarelli, a respected martial artist and manager of a successful charity foundation, struggles with the realities of living alone with an autoimmune disorder after her illusions of a perfect life are shattered.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A novel based on the author's life follows the experiences of a committed martial artist and manager of a successful charity foundation whose illusions are completely shattered by the realities of living alone with an autoimmune disorder. Original.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

From the author of Hild, a fierce and urgent autobiographical novel about a woman facing down a formidable foeSo Lucky is the sharp, surprising new novel by Nicola Griffith—the profoundly personal and emphatically political story of a confident woman forced to confront an unnerving new reality when in the space of a single week her wife leaves her and she is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.Mara Tagarelli is, professionally, the head of a multimillion-dollar AIDS foundation; personally, she is a committed martial artist. But her life has turned inside out like a sock. She can’t rely on family, her body is letting her down, and friends and colleagues are turning away—they treat her like a victim. She needs to break that narrative: build her own community, learn new strengths, and fight. But what do you do when you find out that the story you’ve been told, the story you’ve told yourself, is not true? How can you fight if you can’t trust your body? Who can you rely on if those around you don’t have your best interests at heart, and the systems designed to help do more harm than good? Mara makes a decision and acts, but her actions unleash monsters aimed squarely at the heart of her new community.This is fiction from the front lines, incandescent and urgent, a narrative juggernaut that rips through sentiment to expose the savagery of America’s treatment of the disabled and chronically ill. But So Lucky also blazes with hope and a ferocious love of self, of the life that becomes possible when we stop believing lies.