Lisa Taylor is visually impaired and manages her father’s coin-operated machine business. She is terrified of policemen and of being arrested because of an incident that happened when her younger brother was apprehended on suspicion of arson years ago.
On the first day of the conflict with Iraq, as she is hurrying away from an anti-war demonstration after being threatened with arrest for civil disobedience, she is confronted by a newspaper reporter who asks her why she is running away. She tells him she is afraid she will lose her job if she is arrested.
The day after the protest march, Lisa meets John Macintosh, a bicycle patrol officer. After a short time, she falls in love with him. But Lisa must realize that police officers are human beings. She must learn to trust John after a close friend becomes a victim of acquaintance rape. Her future father-in-law must overcome his own stereotypes of people with disabilities. Will this couple marry and live happily ever after?
ForeWord Clarion Review
We Shall Overcome Abbie Johnson Taylor iUniverse 978-0-595-44619-3
Abbie Johnson Taylor, has penned We Shall Overcome, paying homage to the popular spiritual song of the same name. The novel’s protagonist, Lisa Taylor, is a successful young businesswoman who happens to have a visual impairment. She is adored by her family, elderly neighbors, and the customers of her father’s coin-operated machine repair shop in Sheridan, Wyoming, where she works.
Lisa navigates through life with ease until she falls in love with a police officer,
John Macintosh, whose father is a strict sheriff and whose sister is also visually impaired. Lisa fears law enforcement because of a traumatic incident as a child. Lisa, John, the sheriff, John’s sister Beulah, and other characters must overcome fears and deeply held beliefs as Lisa and John proceed happily with their relationship.
With so many novels portraying people with disabilities as one-dimensional, readers will find Lisa and Beulah to be interesting, multi-faceted characters. While Lisa is more self-assured and less sheltered than Beulah, Taylor deftly showcases both characters’ vulnerabilities, expertly showing that no two people with disabilities are the same. In addition, the author contrasts the family’s expectations of the two blind women, illustrating how familial attitudes affect people with disabilities. Of course, Lisa and Beulah also have traits unrelated to their blindness; and therefore, neither one is completely defined by her disability. Furthermore, Taylor has both women talk about sex and romance, debunking the myth that people with disabilities avoid sex. We Shall Overcome has much to offer readers searching the bookshelves for positive portrayals of blind women.
The demonstrators sang as they stood blocking the entrance to the courthouse in the gathering dusk of a chilly March evening. Lisa clutched her long white cane in her right hand and a small sign in her left hand and sang with them. For the past few months, she and her friend Joan Ferrin were involved with a group of peace activists trying to prevent the war with Iraq. They participated in marches and meetings where people spoke out against the war. However, their efforts were futile because on this day, the conflict was beginning. The group organized this gathering at the last minute. Since they wanted to get the public’s attention but wanted to disrupt the proceedings at the courthouse as little as possible, they decided to hold their gathering in the early evening after the courthouse closed for the day and while it was still light so people driving by could see them. They stood at the entrance nearest the busy main street, and their voices rose over the sound of traffic.
“All right, folks, listen up,” said a voice amplified by a bull horn. “You have five minutes to clear out or you’ll all be arrested for civil disobedience.”