Racquel Sarah A. Castro is the author of A Triumphant Detour and eight other books. She’s been living a life with Cerebral Palsy for 34 years now.
I became an instant fan the moment I was asked to do the book review despite not knowing what I’m about to read. I mean it’s not everyday that you get your hands on something, more so something written, produced by a person with a debilitating condition. I’m also in this point in my life where I’m losing enthusiasm for reading and writing. I remember being able to absorb much information and write more when I was younger. This book came just in time to save me.
A Triumphant Detour is Racquel’s autobiography. It’s a 146-page pocketbook that details her life from the two minute-cry delay that lead to her disability, mere 120 seconds that changed her life forever, to her plans for the future.
A peak into the life with Cerebral Palsy
I have to admit, even with a Nursing degree, I know very little about this condition and I don’t personally know anybody with CP. As I read the book, I was surprised to learn that Racquel had crushes growing up, that she has leadership abilities, and had great plans and hopes for the future. This book is an eye-opener for me. It made me realize that people with CP are just like everybody else.
My absolute favorite was Chapter 27 when Racquel described her dream wedding. She wants to be in sheer yoke wedding gown with crystal-beaded lace. She dreams of a garden wedding with a fairy tale theme.
A Triumphant Detour will make you feel grateful about the little things in life
So you missed your bus this morning? Perhaps you weren’t your 100% in today’s basketball game? Or you’re just like me, perfectly healthy with complete limbs and sleep, but just too lazy to start on tasks despite the impending deadlines? Tell you what, all these are no match to the struggles Racquel face every day. Her severe Cerebral Palsy makes walking difficult for her, she couldn’t engage at all in contact sports, and for heaven’s sake, she has CP but has written nine books. Yeah, NINE. She did all that despite being called many names growing up: abnormal, crippled, different.
One line from this autobiography that broke my heart and I will never forget is:
Every day, I face people who hurt me with their stares, judgments, and words.
Surprisingly, even with these challenges, she praise God even more. I am in awe of her positive attitude and huge faith. On page 2, she wrote that if she was given a choice, she would still choose the same path: a life with Cerebral Palsy. She believe that God made her differently abled so that she would shine in her own way; something that wouldn’t happen if she was born normal.
I’m like: wow, just wow.
The book felt rushed
After reading the book, I made sure to meet Racquel face-to-face. I asked her how long it took her to finish writing the book and she said 1 month. I believe that was too short; and that explained why reading it made me feel like I’m running towards something and that some stories were narrated hurriedly. Maybe there were so many things going on in her mind and she’s so excited to share her life to the readers.
Too much names
I know that this is an autobiography and any author would want to mention as much people as he/she wants. However, I feel that there were too many characters in A Triumphant Detour that I got lost in most of the chapters. For someone who doesn’t know Racquel personally, the names mean nothing to me and as much as I understand that each one made significant contributions in her life with Cerebral Palsy, better introduction or narrowing down the number of names mentioned would’ve made the entire text tighter and more captivating.
When I finally met Racquel, my admiration for her strengthened even more. Talking to her gave me a more realistic picture of that character I tried so hard to imagine as I read the book. She speaks in a slow, yet audible way so you really have to pay attention. Her condition only limits her physically but mentally: she’s sharp, witty, and reasonable. In fact, she has a rather demanding job as she now works for the City Government of Biñan, Laguna as a writer.
I also got to meet her family and they are a bunch of nice people. They’re supportive, friendly, and helpful. They protect her but also allow her to be independent. In the mornings, she’s brought to the office by car, but after work, she travels home alone. The Castro family were extremely close: they know everything about Racquel, even my visit/interview!
Racquel herself admits that her success wouldn’t be possible if she isn’t part of such family.
I feel that Racquel and I have so much in common: our passion for writing, our fearless attitude, and undying love for learning. Her journey is way more difficult than mine and certainly more special. You inspire me a lot Racquel, I’m not a fan of autobiographies, but yours is one that deserves to be read.
Racquel Sarah A. Castro’s A Triumphant Detour, along with her eight other books, is independently published.
Disclaimer: The book was complimentary but all opinions are mine.