Sunday 14 July 2013

By My Side by Alice Peterson

One step can change everything…

Cass Brooks loves her job, her boyfriend Sean, her life. Until, leaving home one morning, distracted and hungover, she steps into the path of a truck.

When she wakes up, she can’t walk. And suddenly all her hopes and dreams, the plans she’d made with Sean, the future she thought she’d have, seem out of her reach.

But then fate intervenes again. Cass meets Ticket, a loyal golden Labrador who refuses to leave her side. And on a flight to Colorado, she sits next to Charlie, who believes he can show her a life full of possibilities, if only she’ll let him.

Cass wants her life back the way it was. Charlie knows this cannot be. Yet a future beckons all the same…

This is definitely a novel everyone needs to read. This was an extremely poignant tale about how precious life is and that you need to take chances as you just never know what is going to happen.

I absolutely loved this incredible story and was so absorbed that I read it in one day. Alice captures you with her words and doesn't let you go until the very end.

Cass's life seems to be going great. She's got a gorgeous boyfriend, is doing really well on her university course in Medicine- her passion. One wrong step on a happy morning, Cass walks into the path of a car. Paralysed from the waist down, Cass's life takes a different direction, one that she had not been planning on.

Cass was such a great character and I warmed to her instantly. Despite what had happened to her and her shaky start dealing with her new way of life, she managed to pull herself together. She truly was an inspiration and I greatly admired her. I also really respected her friends Dom and Guy, they each dealt with their disabilities in their own way and it's obviously not easy to accept. You never know what life is going to throw at you and it really makes you realise that you should never take anything for granted, when sadly all of us do.

When Cass discovers Canine Partners- an assistant dog charity for the disabled, I could sense that Cass's life was going to have positive turn around. I could feel my heart beating faster when Cass was waiting to see what assistant dog she would be partnered with, as she desperately wanted to be partnered with the adorable dog Ticket. Ticket is such a brilliant name! If I ever get a dog, I'm naming him Ticket! Ticket is absolutely adorable and Cass and him make a great team. It just makes you realise how incredible these dogs are.

This story had more poignancy for me, as last year my Dad fractured his C2 bone in his neck and I really thought I was going to lose him. It was a really stressful time and with his operation, we were told there was only a 3% chance that he would survive. He really must have had his guardian angel with him because much to my immense relief, he is not only still with us today, he is able to walk and carry on as normal. My Dad was extremely lucky and I know there are people like Cass, Dom and Guy who aren't so fortunate. I don't mean to use the words lucky and fortunate as they do not quite explain what I mean- Cass, Dom and Guy were all lucky and fortunate in their own ways, I just can't find a better word.

I really commend Alice for giving those with disabilities a voice in fiction as because of my Dad and what could have been and the way Cass was treated by people in the novel and the difficulties she faced, has really made me realise how precious life is and just because you are disabled, does in no way make you less of a person. I could really feel myself getting heated in the novel with how unhelpful and selfish people can be- especially when that stupid woman parked in the disabled space when she was lucky enough to have full use of her limbs.

This novel will really open your eyes and see things differently. Even though this story is sad, it still has a light and humorous side that will leave you feeling heart warmed. It will definitely make you cry in places as it is an emotional read, but I loved it and it comes highly recommended!

I had also never heard of the the amazing charity Canine Partners and I think they are absolutely brilliant! Please read more about them here:


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