Girl with Special Knees, The / Eleanor O'Kelly-Lynch

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A child who doesn’t want to live.

A mother in distress.

A beautiful sister who feels invisible.

A father who needs to keep on keeping on and avoid the fragrant Shirley Lovett at all costs.

The Redmond family is in trouble.

One day, a mysterious African doll arrives in the post, and something magical happens.

This is a poignant story about family relationships, about courage, hope, and renewal . . . and the power of dreams to heal the human heart.

"A sad, beautiful novel, challenging, ambitious and life affirming in the very best ways. The compelling clarity and delicate touch of Eleanor O'Kelly-Lynch's writing ensures that The Girl with Special Knees can't fail to capture hearts and resonate deeply with readers. A triumph of a book." Billy O'Callaghan author of Life Sentences

A few years ago, I was watching TV on my sofa. My daughter lay next to me, curled up, self-injuring her face. Lauren was born with a rare debilitating condition. Her life was a battle. As many readers will know, it is heart-breaking to watch your child suffer.

Later as I voiced my despair, my sister said, ‘Maybe, inside her head or across the universe, she’s living another life in a parallel world and she’s having a ball.’ The thought lifted me.

I’d read about parallel universes, where time can fork off into different realities and where we live different versions of ourselves. Imagine if Lauren could escape her half-life, slip through a portal, live her dreams. And so, The Girl with Special Knees was born.

While the book is written out of my lived experience, it is a work of fiction. The story follows the other family members too: a mother in distress, a sister who feels invisible, a father in denial. When I started out, I thought the book would be about escaping the bonds of grief and loss. When I finished, I saw then that the book was really about how courage matters and how we find it within ourselves.

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