From the start, Mary didn’t have it easy. She was orphaned at an early age, survived living amidst a civil war, and flew across the world to her new home with her adoptive mother—all before the age of two. About the time when babies are expected to walk, Mary was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. With the help of her adoptive parents, including some faithful friends and educators, Mary learned to navigate her world. By so doing, she demonstrated she was the same as everyone else. She just happened to use a wheelchair.
In Mary’s Chair, author Janine O. Provenzano tells Mary’s story. The two met and became friends in the fall of 1995 while taking a freshman English class in college. Mary tutored Janine in math, and Janine tutored Mary in English. They were also camp counselors in the summer of 1996. When they weren’t studying, Janine and Mary walked around various public places and realized just how inaccessible many places were for people with disabilities. Thus began their quest to challenge mainstream assumptions about the accommodations (or lack thereof) for people with disabilities.
Mary’s Chair narrates the remarkable, and sometimes ordinary, story of Janine’s friend, Mary.