So Lucky

So Lucky begins with Mara Tagarelli, the successful leader of an AIDS foundation, saying farewell to her wife, who is leaving for another woman. Moments later, Mara slips—a random accident, she assumes, but she’s wrong. Within a week she’s diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and loses her job. As her body fails her, Mara alternates between rage, paranoia, and pluck. The book follows patterns in Griffith’s own life—both Griffith and Mara were experienced martial artists before MS intervened. The story elicits terror in more ways than one, but the terror is a kind of indictment: of a culture that abandons the disabled and ill, treating them as worse than dead. I had to read it slowly, putting it down every so often to take a deep breath—and then I had to think hard about what exactly I was afraid of.