Odd & True was not at all what I expected, and I’ll be frank, I was quite disappointed with the plot as a whole. This book is listed as fantasy, supernatural and paranormal, however, I personally would put it more in the magical realism category. I spent the majority of the book wondering if I had been fleeced; if there was actually going to be any real magic or paranormal creatures in it. Without giving too much away, I can confirm that yes, this book does actually exist in the realm of fantasy. However, if you’re like me and prefer your fantasy and paranormal novels to be chock-full of those things, then you’re going to be disappointed like I was.
Odd & True is essentially a story about two sisters, family and the stories we tell ourselves and are told to keep the monsters of reality at bay. It is very well written, it’s just not personally my cup of tea. From a disability representation perspective, it’s very good. Trudchen, aka Tru, became ill with Polio as a child and as a result her right leg grew at a different rate. This resulted in a discrepancy between her two limbs of two and a half inches. With the aid of a brace and shoe with a taller heel, she is able to walk short distances. Walking is painful for Tru as moving her right leg requires a great deal of force which aggravates her joints, especially her hip.
Throughout the book, Winters never forgets that Tru is always conscious of how she has to move and the pain that accompanies it. As someone with chronic pain, I tend to notice when authors write about chronic pain and then forget about it for the little things, only remembering it when something big happens (for example, getting out of a carriage). There is one scene in particular where Tru has to walk on snow, and I appreciated how Winters took the time to describe how awkward it was for Tru to walk on a completely different surface. A lot of people don’t realise that surface texture makes a huge difference for those of us with physical disabilities that affect our lower limbs.
Likewise, Winters takes on the issue of how people perceive Tru, which in 1909 is completely wrapped up in her identity as a woman as well. Intersectionality is a huge part of the disabled community, and so often it gets completely ignored.
While I wasn’t a big fan of the plot, from a disability perspective Odd & True is a great read.
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