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Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio by Peg Kehret

small steps

Peg Kehret is just a normal teen living in the 1940’s. Then she contracts what has the symptoms of a flu (high fever, muscle pains), which is not at all what it seems. When she is rushed to the hospital after waking up with almost full body paralysis, she is diagnosed with polio. Not just one type though, all three: respiratory, spinal, and bulbar. How will she ever survive all of that to write this book?

What I Thought of Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio

This non-fiction/auto-biography novel is one I only picked up to complete a list of books to read for school. Small Steps had a huge surprise in store for me; one that I would end up re-reading on several occasions. I was expecting a sappy story of a girl who wallows in her troubles for 200 pages, but was (pleasantly) taken aback by the will and thoughtfulness of the main character Peg. She did not even think about her several types of polio, but instead focused on and cared for the self-conscious Alice, iron-clad Tommy, and anyone else she met. Peg was/is an awe-inspiring character/person. It was as if she forgot that she was in a hospital with a not so bright prognosis ahead of her. The writing style of Kehret is also amazing. She shares every single emotion she had in detail, even if they are ugly ones. This book had the writing style of a journal, which is how every auto-biography should be. Peg wrote a personal tale of determination and kind acts; it didn’t seem manufactured and the emotions weren’t forced as in some similar books. Overall, I loved every last bit of Small Steps, right down to the “romance” between Peg and Dr. Bevis! I truly believe that Small Steps deserves way more than 5 stars, but since that is the limit….

Ooohh, choosing the most memorable part of this book is so difficult! But if I had to choose one, I would go with when Peg finally walks for Dr. Bevis. I thought that it was incredible that she had overcame her polios enough to walk around unassisted, and even more incredible that Dr. Bevis had faith in her the entire time and wasn’t even surprised that she had pulled it off! Most doctors wouldn’t be very optimistic about Peg’s situation, but Dr. Bevis seemed to know that it would work out in the end. This shows so much strength for both of them, that it is one of my favorite parts of this book!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars