Book Buzz: A Million Ordinary Days

On the very first page of A Million Ordinary Days, Judy Mollen Walters’ latest novel, I realized that the protagonist, Allison Wheeler, has a physical disability.

Here is the sentence:

Allison Wheeler felt the buzz in her foot the moment before her alarm sounded, waking her out of her best dreams ever.


Book Buzz: A Million Ordinary Days

A Million Ordinary Days

This is how I knew Allison had Multiple Sclerosis.

I have become acquainted with MS, not because I have it, but because one of my very dearest friends does. My friend Cathy was diagnosed with 30 years ago after an experience with numbness in her foot. She was walking on the sidewalk of New York City and actually stepped out of her shoe without being aware of it.

Allison has the same issue with her foot, along with other symptoms that are on the spectrum of MS. Like Cathy, some days Allison feels ok, and others, it is hard to get out of bed. Some days she feels like her body is betraying her and is frustrated over her inability to control it.

But also like Cathy, Allison is fiercely independent and refuses to let a disability disable her. She has a job she loves, two daughters she cares for, and an unwillingness to surrender to this disease that threatens to take away her quality of life.

In Allison’s familial orbit, there is her ex-husband, who is still involved and supportive, a teenage daughter applying to college, and an older daughter living many miles away. Each family member is concerned about Allison but at the same time wrapped up in his or her own life.

At work, Allison is a passionate social worker helping unwed pregnant teens. She is devoted to her clients, perhaps even more attentive to them than to her own daughters.  As her condition worsens, she struggles to cope with the limitations that are impacting her performance on the job. At first, she is in denial, refusing to acknowledge the progression of her disease. But the setbacks that used to resolve quickly are now lingering, forcing her to deal with her prognosis.

Walters paints a realistic portrait of the impact of having a chronic illness, and the ripples it causes within a family. Her characters are believable, people you swear you have met in real life.

I enjoyed reading A Million Ordinary Days. I liked seeing the evolution of each character and their relationship to one another. I also like the cover image which conveys a subtle melancholy about the content. But this is not a depressing book at all. Rather, it is a story of perseverance and hope.

For anyone with MS or any disability, it will resonate strongly.


I received a copy of A Million Ordinary Days for an honest review,
which is the only kind of review I write. 

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72 Thoughts on “Book Buzz: A Million Ordinary Days

  1. robin Rue on March 20, 2017 at 9:27 am said:

    That sounds like a great read. I will add it to my reading list.

  2. I will seek this read, thanks Helene. My favorite cousin is turning 70 next month and has had MS for 15 years. Like Cathy she is an inspiration in understanding an often invisible chronic disease.

  3. This is the 2nd review I’ve seen for this. It’s on my list! I’m making progress…I might have 50 or more books stacked up.

  4. Thank you for offering another wonderful book review, Helene. I hope “A Million Ordinary Days” provides comfort to some and offers knowledge to others that living with a chronic illness can affect patient’s relationships with loved ones.

    As for the rest? I love you so dearly, my friend. I hug you with my words…..xoxoxoxo

  5. One of my dearest friends whose daughter goes to school with mine has MS. I hope that a cure is found for it soon. Thanks for bringing attention to this great book–I will let my friend know about it.

  6. This sounds like a wonderful book. It is so important to educate the public on the real challenges of living with a chronic illness. The more we share stories and experiences with each other the more aware and prepared friends, family and co-workers are to give loving, encouraging support.

    • Thank you! I hope you will read it and let me know what you think. I have a chronic illness (not MS) and it has affected my life and the lives of my children and husband in incredibly challenging ways. I wanted to write a book about what it’s like to live with chronic illness.

    • hbludman on March 21, 2017 at 8:29 am said:

      Absolutely, Ellen. Thank you.

  7. I posted on my phone, but it doesn’t seem to have come through. First, I love the title. And you know I too, had the experience of MS with my brother-in-law. I welcome reading the day-to-day journey from all points of view. I know so many people don’t want to think about this disease, which it sounds like the character seems to go through. But it needs to be done, so I welcome books like this. I will be sure to pick it up! Thanks, Helene

    • Thank you so much for your interest in reading! Please get in touch with me about what you think of the book when you’re done reading.

    • hbludman on March 21, 2017 at 8:30 am said:

      Thank you, Cathy. I know you have first-hand experience with a loved one having MS.

  8. How sad how something like MS can rob you of mobility but amazing that Alison refused to let the disability rob her of her quality of life. What a beautifully poignant story x

  9. I love reading and I’m alwais on a hunt for some new books. This one seems interesting, I’ll definitely add it to my future reading!

  10. A friend of mine was also diagnose with MS, I can see what she’s going through and my heart is broken.

  11. What an interesting post. MS can sure change a life.

  12. This sounds like an interesting read. I’ll have to check it out. My sister in law has MS. It is debilitating.

  13. This sounds like a really great book. I will have to check it out.

  14. This sounds both inspiring and terrifying for me – my daughter is thirteen and has had some symptoms of MS before. She’s been to a neuro and had a brain MRI earlier this year – there’s a cyst in her brain that we’re watching, but as yet, I’m thankful they said it doesn’t look enough like MS to be definitive.

    • Wow, I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this with your 13 year old. That is truly terrifying. I’ll hope for you.

    • hbludman on March 21, 2017 at 8:32 am said:

      Brandi, sending positive thoughts and best wishes to you and your daughter. I’m sure this has been very frightening for your family.

  15. I need to check this out. I want to learn more about MS.

  16. My BFF lived with MS since early adulthood and it wasn’t until she was dealing with cancer that she revealed how painful her MS had been for years. She never let on. Those that live well in spite of any kind of disability or chronic illness are so inspirational.
    I’m looking forward to reading this book.

  17. Elizabeth O. on March 20, 2017 at 11:25 pm said:

    It sounds like an eye-opener, or a book that will give you a glimpse of hope. It’s always nice to read novels like this that allow you to appreciate life more.

  18. I have no experience with MS but it’s really interesting to know what people go through. I think this is such a good read especially since it gives you hope. I would love to read the story and see how it all turns out in the end.

  19. Sounds like a really good read, I used to work with patients with MS and have a couple of friends. I would actually like to check this one out.

  20. I would like to read this one. I do not know anyone who has MS but it is an illness and a struggle. When my mother got diagnosed with diabetes, we have been concerned of what she eats always. I am also affected and cautious that it may occur to me too.
    I hope that anyone who has an MS will have people around them who will take good care of them.

    • What I like to think about my book is that it’s relateable to anyone who has or know someone who has any type of chronic disease, so if you read it, let me know if you felt that way, too.

  21. This is such a great read, I have shared it with my readers.

    • Thank you so much for sharing it! If you (and anyone else here who reads) can go on amazon to give it a review — even if it’s just marking stars — that would help SO MUCH!

  22. Sounds like a great read! My mum has MS…

  23. Sounds like a wonderful book! Even more interesting that you can relate with the main character through your friend!

  24. I never knew a person that had MS until last August. I met a young lady thru Snapchat when she commented on one of my snaps. We became friends. She lives in Florida and I live in GA. One day she shared her MS story to me and when told me her left side was numb I couldn’t believe it. She is 31 years old and hasn’t had an “episode” as she calls it in a while, thank God. This seems like an interesting book.

  25. The Playful Parent on March 22, 2017 at 6:40 am said:

    Ms is such a crippling illness. Your review really highlighted the this books message.

    • It really is. I hope readers will feel connected to the characters and that Ms patients and families will feel I’ve captured it well.

  26. UB Rey on March 22, 2017 at 12:52 pm said:

    I am always looking for good recommendations. This has sparked my interest and will check it out! Thank you

  27. This sounds like a great book to read. I would have never figure Allison had Multiple Sclerosis. You were able to figure it out because of your friend Cathy who has MS.

  28. Michelle Blackwood on March 23, 2017 at 6:30 am said:

    I have worked with people with MS and it can have deep emotional impact on them and their family. This book sounds awesome!

  29. This sounds like a great in need of a new book, having just finished The Girl On The Train.

  30. I did my university dissertation on MS and stem cell therapy. Such an eye opening avenue of research. Where I live (the Shetland Islands) we have the highest worldwide percentage of sufferers. This book sounds like a very interesting read!

  31. Helene, I always love your reviews. Knowing you, Cathy, and Judy, I especially enjoyed this one. <3

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