#BookClub Taking Steps by Helen Sims*
I did an English Literature and Language degree at university but since I finished, way back in 2009 I’ve not really read much poetry. In fact, I hardly read at all now as I’m super busy with everything else, but it’s still something that I really love and so I was looking forward to reading Taking Steps by Helen Sims, a collections of short stories, articles and poems that cover a wide range of topics.
Helen is a rather inspirational woman in herself, having cerebral palsy since birth, she cannot stand or walk unaided. Aged 14 she underwent several major orthopedic operations and spent four months in hospital, over 100 miles away from her home. She had to learn to walk from scratch and this started her battle with clinical depression. However, she has found light through her writing, which she loves, and is determined to turn all her negative experiences into positives. Helen is a passionate and outspoken campaigner for disability rights and is keen to raise awareness of the realities of life with a disability. The foreward of the book (which I usually skip!) gives a great insight into Helen’s struggles since birth and hers is really quite a story.
Helen’s passion for disability rights shines through in poems like The Reject Doll and To Whom It May Concern but her prose can easily be applied to anyone going through struggles, not just bodily. It’s a little bit of a heavy read at times and quite an emotional journey – I found the book made me laugh, cry and feel every emotion in between. A lot of the poems have a happy twist at the end like If You Had Everything which really does draw your attention to the positives in life (I love a happy ending!). People sometimes find poetry a little difficult to get to grips with but Taking Steps is simple and un-cumbersome, if you’ve never really tried reading a book full of poetry before, it would be a great introduction.
Get your copy of Taking Steps by Helen Sims here.