When Emmett de Monterey is eighteen months old, a doctor diagnoses him with cerebral palsy. Words too heavy for his twenty-five-year-old artist parents and their happy, smiling baby. Growing up in south-east London in the 1980s, Emmett is spat at on the street and prayed over at church.
At his mainstream school, teachers refuse to schedule his classes on the ground floor, and he loses a stone from the effort of getting up the stairs. At his sixth form college for disabled students, he’s told he will be expelled if the rumours are true, if he’s gay. And then Emmett is chosen for a first-of-its-kind surgery in America which he hopes will ‘cure’ him, enable him to walk unaided.
He hopes for a miracle: to walk, to dance, to be able to leave the house when it rains. To have a body that’s everyday beautiful, to hold hands in the street. To not be gay, which feels like another word for loneliness.
But the ‘miracle’ doesn’t occur, and Emmett must reckon with a world which views disabled people as invisible, unworthy of desire. He must fight to be seen.