Stuck in Neutral

by Terry Trueman

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How does Shawn's family treat him like a baby?


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In Terry Trueman's young adult novel Stuck in Neutral, Shawn, the protagonist, lives with cerebral palsy, a serious medical condition. His chronic ailment makes his mother overprotective toward him. In one perspective, Shawn could be labeled a "mama's boy." On the other hand, we could consider that the trauma and pain that Shawn's condition caused his family triggered the mother to treat him like a "baby."

Shawn's father, an award-winning poet, wrote a poem about Shawn and abandoned the family because he was so intensely tortured by Shawn's condition. Shawn's mother is seen as the protector of Shawn, whereas the father is akin to Abraham, who has an internal desire to kill his son. Due to this duality between Shawn's parents, the mother is portrayed as someone who is overprotective, but rightfully so, in the narrative's context.

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