Lovers and Liars
by Lilly LaRue
This is a short story, which I think is quite reasonable for the price. It tries to cover an awful lot of ground for a short piece, though.
It would have been a fine, sexy fantasy sort-of story if not for a couple of things. First, the characters were very thin. We didn't get a chance to get inside their minds and understand them, which made their behavior difficult to understand.
My liking for both of them fell fast based on comments like:
Bari: "She was bothered by Cooper's confinement to a wheelchair because he was so young. If she were honest with herself, she was also disappointed. Bari had been attracted to him from the moment she met him...perhaps it was for the best that he couldn't make love." Really? Because he uses a wheelchair he is A) "confined" and B) definitely unable to make love? This sort of thinking drips with pity, and yet later they get together and she tells him that his wheelchair doesn't bother her.
Bari: "At least he'd been able to walk at one point in his life. That was something to be thankful for." What kind of terrible statement is that? A person who has never walked is a sad, pitiable person?
Cooper: "I regained my sexual function. It made me realize that I was still a person." So if you don't have sexual function, you're not a person? I am nearly speechless with offense at that comment.
Cooper: "I'm stuck in this g*dd*mn wheelchair for the rest of my life and I won't be a liability to some helpless kid." Luckily he comes to feel otherwise. For my friends who are wheelchair users and fathers...I don't even have the words.
The thing that gets to me the most is that Cooper uses a power chair, supposedly. Never mind that he transfers out of it and folds it to put it in the passenger seat of his car (I've never known of a power chair that could do that), but he is paralyzed from the thighs down (conveniently, so of course sex is no problem). I am completely unable to believe that he would use a power chair.
I wanted to like this story and I really would have, but ignorant and hurtful statements about disability ruined it for me. It's one thing to have the bad guy refer to Cooper as a "cripple half-man," but I can't get past the ways Bari and Cooper themselves think of disability.