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‘The Chronicles of Tess.’
‘The Chronicles of Tess’ is a unique, semi-autobiographical novel chronicling ‘Coming-of-Age’ as experienced by a disabled teenager who wants more from life than her first eighteen years have offered. Sometimes hilarious, other times heart breaking, this book tells of Tess’s rite of passage as she catapults herself into a brave new world of residential college life.
Tess leaves behind her protective family along with the bracing sea air of Brighton to the rather darker skies of Industrial Coventry, where walking frames and power chairs will soon dominate her skyline. The fact that she has Cerebral Palsy and uses an electric wheelchair is no longer a viable excuse for being a socially inept teenager, because the entire student body of Hill Crest College also rest on their laurels and drive around in their own custom built wheelchairs. Their owners, each with their own stories to tell are a glorious mix of people with different disabilities, and of regional and ethnic dialects.
With that in mind Tess hopes that Hill Crest College will be a place of adventure and redemption, but any failed teenager would be completely unprepared for the reality of it all. Not just the environment, but the shock of just how ‘varied’ disabled people like herself actually are, and just how ‘able’ they – and she could be given the chance. Tess has untamed lolloping breasts at her disposal for a start and has absolutely no idea what to do with them; they may win her points when she finds herself in the middle of a complicated love triangle, but under no circumstances do they win her any points in the costume department; not when it’s her turn to roll around on the floor wearing the one-size-fits-all cabbage costume in her performing arts dance class.
The first night in her own bed, in her own room down on B block, Tess reflects that her cosseted life in Brighton was really no life at all, but soon enough, life for Tess becomes a colourful patchwork quilt of ups, Downs, challenges and pitfalls, triumphs and disasters, laughter and tears. Tess hopes to get her mind set right and become what she always wanted – to be an equal in a world of equals. After all, she is amongst her own kind now and she’s utterly exposed – in all her un-teenage-glory.
This is her chronicle!