His father is a well-bred Englishman with a strict Victorian upbringing, highly educated and psychologically traumatised from WWII (post traumatic stress disorder - PTSD). The mother is a simple working class Scottish woman. She has problems dealing with her husband and children – her financial support often below that of the average poor.
Jimmy McCall is of a fighting nature, a resilient character who finds ways to shrug off the adversities of life. Separated from his parents as an infant for nearly two years, he is struck with infantile paralysis at the age of six to encounter life’s reality and the difficulties thereafter – spastic paralysis, continuous teasing from a resentful brother and a devious skinflint of a father, who rejects him as a useless cripple, not worth the food to be fed. The central quest of his life is to recover and be like all the other lads of his age.
Separation and severe physical pain accompany him in his battle for justness and acceptance as a normal human being – a Scottish lad that won’t and can’t be broken.
...This is indeed a very remarkable autobiographical novel with an extremely subtle and delicate description of the thought processes and moods of the subject when confronted with continuous malice and despicableness. The reader becomes extremely gripped and devours the handling in the book with a great deal of sensitivity, to the extent of re-living the subject’s experiences and suffering. The many small and large victories over his own shortcomings are described with great dignity and are extremely convincing. The story is written, as only good writers with humility and simplicity can do, in a simple, unadorned manner, serious, but also humorous at times. It is hardly possible to put the book down until the reader has digested the last sentence of the last page. I recommend it not only for polio survivors, but especially for their relatives and friends, not forgetting all those who are looking for good ideas for fulfilling their own life plan or of conveying it to others.
Professor Kai Paschen MD, 7th November 2014