Alice Peterson’s By My Side is a poignant and heartwarming novel about Cassandra Brooks. Cass’ life is perfect to being with: she’s a fourth year medical student who has a loving boyfriend and family. Everything goes well for her until she gets hit by a truck, which leaves her paralysed. As the novel unfolds, Cass has to adjust to her new life and move forward from the past.
Peterson’s choice of topic for this novel is great because it shines a light on the lives of those that are paralysed or missing a limb/s. She writes with such honesty and accuracy, detailing the dark and light moments of the characters in her book. Peterson sprinkles her novel with lighthearted moments while maintaining the importance of acknowledging the hard side of Cass’ life.
As a main character Cass is inspiring; she has courage and hope. However, I did find it difficult to connect with her at first because the accident happened near the beginning of the novel. I liked her more as it progressed. Cass’ friendships were great as well, especially with Guy and Doug. The relationship between Cass and Charlie ,although sometimes frustrating, was endearing to read.
At times the dialogue was unnatural- there were some phrases that could have been written in a more original way. However, Peterson’s writing flows easily and I did enjoy reading By My Side.
I would recommend By My Side if you like books that give an honest stance on life and it’s difficulty, as well as capturing happy moments.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5