In 1958, the intelligently challenged, or the retarded as they were commonly known, were shunned away from society. But in Joyce Magnin’s new tale, she explores one girl’s dedication to caring for the mother of her deceased friend whose aunt wants her locked away.
“Carrying Mason” is a journey of a young girl named Luna who at 13 years old knows how to gut a fish, but after her friend Mason dies, she takes it upon herself to move in with his mentally disabled mother Ruby Day.
Not only does she have to over come the difficulties of caring for a mentally challenged person, but also Luna must overcome Ruby Day’s aunt who wants to put her niece away in a mental institution.
But the story comes from the heart for Magnin, as the Havertown author explains how some of the mentally challenged are still treated with discrimination.
“I have several friends who have intelligently challenged children and I see the prejudice they face,” the 50-year-old author tells the Haverford-Havertown Patch.
Magnin explains that Luna is a free spirit who wants to be accepted for who she is.
“Luna is self aware and does not let anyone get in her way,” she says. “She is a free spirit who wants to stands up for what is right.”
Which may explain the time period the story takes place. In the 1950’s, many who were mentally disabled were shunned away from society and others were put in institutions, Magnin says.
But Magnin admits that there is a little Luna inside of her.
“It’s not possible not to write a book without a bit of it being an autobiography,” she exclaims. “Social justice issues are important to me.”
In fact, it was pointed out to Magnin that the cover art of the book that shows Luna resembles her.
But Magnin is no stranger to books, as she has written the successful Bright’s Pond series among others. While “Carrying Mason” is written for middle school-aged readers, Bright’s Pond is written for adults.
The last novel of Bright’s Pond came out recently, entitled “Blame It On The Mistletoe.”
Magnin’s next project is called “Harriett Beamer Takes The Bus,” where a 78-year-old woman’s family wants her to move in with them. However, Harriett makes them agree to allow her to go to them on her own, from Pennsylvania to California, while taking public transportation, where she finds herself in one adventure after another.
But when Magnin is not writing, she says she enjoys knitting, reading—which she admits is not as relaxing for her since she is a writer—and even playing video games.
“I’m the only 50 year old with an Xbox,” she proudly mentions, admitting that she likes role-playing games.
But despite her interesting way of relaxing, she is still a writer and the little Luna that is still inside her offers advice to young writers, which at age 9 she realized that is what she wanted to be.
“You can’t be a writer without being a reader,” Magnin says wisely.