“Courting Greta” by Ramsey Hootman

In my post of January 20, I talked about my problems choosing fiction. Here’s another! What if it’s TOO GOOD? What if I can’t put it down, lose a whole day, neglect an obligation? Has this happened? Yes. It’s a wonder I didn’t get arrested for child neglect when I read The Raj Quartet by Paul Scott.

Courting Greta is probably not as good as The Raj Quartet, but it kept my attention. I stayed up late to read.

The protagonist is Samuel Cooke, a brilliant computer geek trapped by in a severely damaged body. He can walk, but with difficulty. He grew up in an  abusive family, and has emotional issues. We don’t really learn what (aside from boredom?) caused him to leave his high powered job and go to work as a substitute teacher in a public high school. He falls for and courts the gym teacher Greta, a big, hard edged woman with “a past” who has everyone, teachers and students alike, seriously intimidated.

At first I thought this was a setup for something very trite – handicapped man can only find love with deeply neurotic woman. Two damaged people settling for “damaged goods” in the marriage market. Thank goodness Hootman didn’t go in that direction! Her characters were complex and interesting. They fight and love their way to a relationship full of promise.

Was this book an intentional “consciousness raiser”? I don’t know. I caused me to reflect on the “handicapped” among my friends and relations. One thing I know is that it is chancy to use that category. People’s lives and conditions are so varied! I just hope my friends find what they are looking for in love, maybe without as much difficulty as Samuel and Greta.

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