In my quest to read and judge every book with disabled characters I came across Ruth Madison's (W)hole. I didn't read the reviews or description, wanting nothing to influence my opinion of the book but I expected the usual (although the usual means all 3 other romance novels featuring disabled characters); a watered down experience of disability and then critical acclaim of how "brave" the author is for writing such a book. This was not the case.
The leading man is paraplegic from a sporting accident, as per usual in this genre, but the real story is about the leading lady who has a fetish toward disabled men. I know very little about the devotee community and so I was immediately sucked in to the story, excited to see how it was portrayed.
Elizabeth, our heroine is a normal teenager with all the usual concerns such homosapiens have but she is burdened with the undeniable fact she is attracted to men with disabilities. She is ashamed to the point where she abuses herself to purge the desire. She is frightened for what such a fetish means about her and her humanity, taking sexual joy in another's suffering.
On top of this, Stewart, our leading man, is not bitter NOR is he inspirational. For those of you who don't know...expecting someone with a disability to be sad and bitter is just as offensive and dehumanizing as expecting them to be saints who’s goal in life is to inspire you. Instead of either stereotype, Stewart is a normal young man with all the usual concerns such homosapiens have but he is in a wheelchair. This is enough to bring a tear of appreciation to my eye but Madison goes a step further to be honest in what having disabilities means. In one romantic scene Elizabeth goes for yet another base to be stopped by a catheter. If that isn't the home run of taking the responsibility as an author to portray a true human experience I don't know what is.
There is no other book like this. There are few (of any genre or subject) that are as genuine as this. You may or may not like the book but I encourage you to read it. You will not put it down without having a strong opinion of it (good or bad) and that is the greatest reward in literature.