Required Reading

Posted on Thursday 10th November, 2011

Is the thought of doing your Christmas list getting you down? Are you just coming to the end of a great book and can't quite think what to read next? I thought so.  In which case, read on... 

Rosie MS

Even with my insider knowledge of the world of thalidomide (I was born with those impairments too), Four Fingers and Thirteen Toes was a revelation.  Rosie brings her iron will, her intellectual rigour but most of all her good humour to the thalidomide story. 

The book weaves together the history of the drug - its roots in Germany's Nazi past, its distribution to hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting pregnant women, and later its relicensing - with Rosie's own story. 

Just under ten years ago I wrote an article for the Daily Telegraph to accompany an hour-long radio documentary for the BBC.  I quite consciously highlighted Rosie's story at the very beginning because her parents - young as they were - had the moral backbone to know that the doctors' advice to leave Rosie in care and go home and have another child was just plain wrong.  Throughout this book, the love and care of Rosie's parents and extended family give her the strength to wrestle with life's challenges and to emerge victorious. 

My one, abiding memory of this book? The drunk who emerges from a Cardiff pub, sees Rosie's Mini Clubman with its extended roof and pokes his head into the car to order a hotdog with extra onions.


Sue Kent
Sue Kent
Monday 24th July, 2017 @ 11:41 am

I am not a great reader of autobiographies but I decided to give this one a go, normally I take ages to read a book but this one I read in two days, I am a woman with thalidomide damaged arms and have had a relatively easy time of it..  This is an upbeat informative and humorous read.  It is highly thought provoking and for me, very motivating.  Reading this book opened my eyes to the access difficulties faced by wheelchair users and the impact that can have on the fundamental rights of a human being .  It is also a useful tool for teenagers to assist in understanding the impacts society can have on the individual.