cover image So Lucky

So Lucky

Nicola Griffith. MCD, $15 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-0-374-26592-2

This affecting autobiographical novel from Griffith (Hild) recounts a proud and independent woman’s struggle to lead a meaningful life despite a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Mara Tagarelli, the executive director of the nonprofit Georgia AIDS Partnership, is still dealing with her wife’s ending their 14-year marriage when she gets the shocking news that she has relapsing-remitting MS, which is exacerbated by stress. After Mara circulates a budget with some inappropriate language she includes by accident, she’s asked to step down from her position. Suddenly with too much time on her hands, Mara uses her familiarity with big pharma’s misleading advertising to determine what medication might actually benefit her. A bad experience at a support group for people with MS leads Mara to create a new organization, the Cripples Action Team, “a flexible task force with an active, evolving mission to help disabled people help ourselves.” While a subplot involving crimes against the disabled could have been dispensed with, the end product is a plausible warts-and-all portrayal of a person unwilling to let herself be defined by her illness. Anyone who’s ever struggled with medical adversity will be inspired. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Gernert Company. (May)