Stuck in Neutral

by Terry Trueman

Reviewed by Shreya Dahal, age 13

Stuck in Neutral is a book by Terry Trueman. The book tells the fascinating story of a 14-year-old boy named Shawn. Shawn has cerebral palsy, a condition that occurs at birth, and results in severe muscular dysfunction. His condition is so bad that Shawn cannot control any parts of his body.

Trueman is an excellent writer and his words are both touching and convincing. In fact, Trueman’s own son suffers from cerebral palsy.

Although he is the main character, Shawn is static, meaning he stays the same throughout the entire book. Typically, the main character in any book or story goes through an emotional journey. This is what is called character development, an important theme in literature. Everyone sees Shawn as an emotionless “retard” who doesn’t understand anything. The other characters are dynamic. They undergo emotional and intellectual changes. This is what makes the book so different, and so interesting. It is  the secondary characters that develop and go through changes.

Through the use of imagery the book shows us what Shawn is feeling about himself and others. The first person account makes the reader sympathize with Shawn and understand what he is feeling. The book focuses a great deal on Shawn’s disability and his relationship with his father.

The climax near the end of the book leaves the reader wondering how the story actually ends. Readers must decide for themselves.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes realistic fiction. The story is sad in some ways, but it is also really engaging. It is a great way to learn about the real problems that some people face everyday. It’s a book that is hard to put down once you pick it up!

You analyzed this book very well, Shreya! I've read this book, and I agree, it is really engaging. – Annie Shao , Madison (2011-06-23 19:26)
I read this book after your review and I have to say it is a awesome book! – Katrina , Madison, WI (2012-06-19 19:34)