Leg-braces in Novels

Updated 6.10.11

These are some of the novels I've found so far that have some content related to leg-braces or physical disability. Email me when you find others worth adding as this list is surely just scratching the surface of what must be out there.

Also tell me if you spot errors in the list. Many will be available from Amazon.

by J.G.Ballard
J.G.Ballard (who also wrote Empire of the Sun), turns his attention to people who get a rush of erotic excitement from car crashes and the resulting disability/disfigurement. Gabrielle, one of the main characters wears both legbraces and a spinal brace as a result of a car accident. Crash was made into a controversial film by Canadian director David Cronenburg in 1996.

The Raging Moon
by Peter Marshall

Ad A novel focusing on the difficulties faced by young people living in a home for the physically disabled. Relationships, especially close sexual ones, are hard to forge when one is institutionalised. This is, in part, perhaps autobiographical. See also Peter Marshall's autobiography Two Lives. Hutchinson and Co., Ltd.: London, England, 1962.

Lightning in July
by Ann L. McLaughlin

Ad A wonderfully human and illuminating novel set during the last epidemic of polio before the Salk vaccine became available. The strength of this remarkable novel is in the unsentimental truth of McLaughlin's handling of how Hally and Dan each learn to cope with impossible demands.
The Other Side of Midnight
Sydney Sheldon
Ad One of the minor characters I seem to recall is described as wearing a heavy metal legbrace.
Unnatural Causes
by P. D.James
Ad A major character is a women in callipers and there are some excellent sections describing her walk, the feel of her body etc. James is a sort of modern-day Agatha Christie. This book was also made into a TV movie.
I Can Jump Puddles
by Alan Marshall
YA Australian novel about a kid living in the outback who gets polio and overcomes the difficulties it brings.
Peel My Love Like an Onion
by Ana Castillo
YA The tale of a polio-disabled (Carmen’s nickname in Spanish is "Carmen the Cripple") flamenco dancer, actually a brace-wearing disabled flamenco dancer.
by Zenna Henderson


Ad A long section is devoted to the first-person story (fictional) of Carolle, an SCI paraplegic who, at that pre-accessible time, uses long crutches and full-length leg braces to achieve mobility.  Living in a remote mountain community, there are many scenes of her dealing with barriers and rough ground, and her fear of helplessness in these situations.  Especially effective is the understated reaction to an attractive man, who has never known her without her crutches and braces.  The whole vignette is very effective, without being in the least maudlin or "poor me".
The Acorn Children
by Ron Jones
YA A true story about a very special group of disabled children who make their dreams come true at Camp Wiggin.
The Secrets of the Forest – The Time Zone.
By Neville Kent
Ch Twelve-year-old boy, crippled since birth. Walks unaided after meeting a strange old lady and her cat. There’s a price to pay however.

The Monument
by Gary Paulsen
Ch Thirteen-year-old Rocky, self-conscious about the braces on her leg, has her life changed by the remarkable artist who comes to her small Kansas town to design a war memorial.
Button Eye's Orange
by Jan Wahl
Ch Taken to the market to be sold, a toy dog tries to return with an orange to his boy who wears a leg brace.
by Judy Blume
Ch Deenie finds through her experience of scoliosis treatment what being disabled means. She wears a body brace for four years, and has to make many adaptations.
  KEY Ch = children's
YA = young adult
Ad = adult
Ad+ = adult, strong sexual content