Book Review by Lynell Bergen, Spiritual Care Associate, Hope Centre Ministries
Riding the Bus with My Sisteris the true story of Beth and Rachel, two sisters with very different perspectives on life. Beth lives with a disability, and spends most of her day riding the city bus, with the bus drivers as her mentors and friends. Rachel is a career-driven academic, to the point of disconnecting with people and the world around her. Rachel commits to spending at least two days a month, for a year, riding the bus with Beth. As she does so, she reflects on their relationship as sisters, their broader family relationships (including their parents’ divorce, mother’s depression and subsequent marriage to an abusive man), Rachel’s own fear of commitment, and the struggles of having a sister with disabilities.
However, Rachel also finds herself learning a lot from Beth about friendship, vulnerability, and learning to take it easy. There is a richness to Beth’s life that Rachel’s lacks, even as Rachel is frustrated that Beth spends her days riding the bus, when she could be holding down a job.
This is no romantic picture of people with disabilities – Beth can be stubborn, and highly opinionated, and often is not easy to get along with. But she is also loyal, committed, and willing to invite others into her life. Rachel is also not always easy to like, and she is honest about her failures as a sister to Beth, but her academic skills provide her a way of learning about and supporting Beth with the challenges in her life.
It’s an honest, thoughtful book, and easy to read book.