A Man Like Mac, by Fay Robinson

>> Tuesday, April 22, 2003

I had even better luck with the books I read on my way back to Montevideo. The first, which I must have read in 2 hours -tops-, was A Man Like Mac, by Fay Robinson. According to her Superauthors page, the author has unfortunately passed away. This is her own description of her book:

From the Author

In A MAN LIKE MAC, I've explored the relationship between a disabled man and an able-bodied woman facing a terrible injury. My research led me to some incredible real-life heroes and heroines, people who shared their experiences and answered questions about difficult subjects. I was profoundly changed by what I learned. Courage has a new meaning for me now. The heart of this story is romance. Mac McCandless has loved Keely Wilson since she was 17, but he was her coach and teacher and such feelings were forbidden at the time. She's now 27 and locked in a battle for her emotional survival. Mac can't help her without reviving those old feelings. But he's not sure his heart can take losing her again. I hope you enjoy the story. This is my debut novel.
This would have been at least an A, if it weren't for the very unlikeable heroine. As it is, it's a B+

I just loved Mac. Really, really loved him. He's so confident and so not-sorry-for-himself (sorry for the awful non-word!). When writing about disabled characters authors often make them sound like victims. Not Robinson. Mac was happy with himself. Sure, he would have preferred to be able-bodied, but he accepted that he was not and decided to live his life to the fullest.

Keely was much more problematic. I didn't "get" her at all, probably because I can't understand how someone could actually want to live her life with the sole objective of being the best runner ever. Make some sacrifices for it, sure, I'd understand. Make lots of sacrifices.. umm, ok. Sacrifice her whole life for it, to the point she has no life apart from running? Sorry, I don't see why someone would want do this. I know there are people who do this, I just find myself unable to sympathize. And I lost all respect for her when seeing her relationship with her mother and the way she was completely blind to her father's manipulations.

Apart from the characters themselves, a couple more comments: I liked that Robinson didn't rely on miracle cures to get her characters to their HEA. Basically, they learn to live with their bodies' limitations and with the fact that there's nothing they can do about them. Refreshing. What I didn't like was that Keely decision to go after Mac and seduce him wasn't very well done. It didn't ring true that she'd change so radically, from fearful and distrustful to a shameless seductress. Still, this led to one of the tenderest love scenes I've ever read, so I can't complain too much ;-)

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