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A groundbreaking collection of first-person writing on the joys and challenges of the modern disability experience: Disability Visibility brings together the voices of activists, authors, lawyers, politicians, artists, and everyday people whose daily lives are, in the words of playwright Neil Marcus, “an art…an ingenious way to live.” A Vintage Books Original. According to A groundbreaking collection of first-person writing on the joys and challenges of the modern disability experience: Disability Visibility brings together the voices of activists, authors, lawyers, politicians, artists, and everyday people whose daily lives are, in the words of playwright Neil Marcus, “an art…an ingenious way to live.” A Vintage Books Original. According to the last census, one in five people in the United States lives with a disability. Some are visible, some are hidden—but all are underrepresented in media and popular culture. Now, just in time for the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, activist Alice Wong brings together an urgent, galvanizing collection of personal essays by contemporary disabled writers. There is Harriet McBryde Johnson’s “Unspeakable Conversations,” which describes her famous debate with Princeton philosopher Peter Singer over her own personhood. There is columnist s. e. smith’s celebratory review of a work of theater by disabled performers. There are original pieces by up-and-coming authors like Keah Brown and Haben Girma. There are blog posts, manifestos, eulogies, and testimonies to Congress. Taken together, this anthology gives a glimpse of the vast richness and complexity of the disabled experience, highlighting the passions, talents, and everyday lives of this community. It invites readers to question their own assumptions and understandings. It celebrates and documents disability culture in the now. It looks to the future and past with hope and love.


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A groundbreaking collection of first-person writing on the joys and challenges of the modern disability experience: Disability Visibility brings together the voices of activists, authors, lawyers, politicians, artists, and everyday people whose daily lives are, in the words of playwright Neil Marcus, “an art…an ingenious way to live.” A Vintage Books Original. According to A groundbreaking collection of first-person writing on the joys and challenges of the modern disability experience: Disability Visibility brings together the voices of activists, authors, lawyers, politicians, artists, and everyday people whose daily lives are, in the words of playwright Neil Marcus, “an art…an ingenious way to live.” A Vintage Books Original. According to the last census, one in five people in the United States lives with a disability. Some are visible, some are hidden—but all are underrepresented in media and popular culture. Now, just in time for the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, activist Alice Wong brings together an urgent, galvanizing collection of personal essays by contemporary disabled writers. There is Harriet McBryde Johnson’s “Unspeakable Conversations,” which describes her famous debate with Princeton philosopher Peter Singer over her own personhood. There is columnist s. e. smith’s celebratory review of a work of theater by disabled performers. There are original pieces by up-and-coming authors like Keah Brown and Haben Girma. There are blog posts, manifestos, eulogies, and testimonies to Congress. Taken together, this anthology gives a glimpse of the vast richness and complexity of the disabled experience, highlighting the passions, talents, and everyday lives of this community. It invites readers to question their own assumptions and understandings. It celebrates and documents disability culture in the now. It looks to the future and past with hope and love.

30 review for Disability Visibility : First-Person Stories from the Twenty-first Century

  1. 5 out of 5

    The Artisan Geek

    2/9/20 This was just a great piece of literature! Incredibly insightful, heartfelt -- I learned so much from this and I'm thankful that this exists. Will definitely be discussing this on my Youtube channel in the future :) 1/7/20 I have been looking for exactly this kind of book and it came in the mail today -- so so happy to have it!! :D You can find me on Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website | The Storygraph 2/9/20 This was just a great piece of literature! Incredibly insightful, heartfelt -- I learned so much from this and I'm thankful that this exists. Will definitely be discussing this on my Youtube channel in the future :) 1/7/20 I have been looking for exactly this kind of book and it came in the mail today -- so so happy to have it!! :D You can find me on Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website | The Storygraph

  2. 4 out of 5

    Richard Propes

    In a world where the disabled voice is often viewed through the lens of what disability rights activist Stella Young coined as "inspiration porn" or with the rah-rah sympathies of the latest Lifetime Channel movie, a book like "Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century" is an act of revolutionary love and claiming of space. There is no "Chicken Soup for the Soul" to be found here. In its place, you find #CripLit at its finest - bold and brash, heartfelt and passio In a world where the disabled voice is often viewed through the lens of what disability rights activist Stella Young coined as "inspiration porn" or with the rah-rah sympathies of the latest Lifetime Channel movie, a book like "Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century" is an act of revolutionary love and claiming of space. There is no "Chicken Soup for the Soul" to be found here. In its place, you find #CripLit at its finest - bold and brash, heartfelt and passionate, and incredibly well-informed essays and reflections on the vast diversity of the disability experience as told by a relatively small smattering of the leading disability voices in the 21st century. Trust me, there are more. Lots more. However, "Disability Visibility" editor Alice Wong has chosen her subjects well in representing the remarkable love and chaos of the disability experience. The writers themselves, representing a broad spectrum of disabilities both visible and invisible, have written with tremendous authenticity, remarkable transparency, and a vulnerability that frequently had me in tears throughout this rewarding collection. Being released just in time for the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), "Disability Visibility" doesn't mute the harshness of the disability experience. Indeed, many of the essays in the collection begin with content warnings regarding the subject matter about to be discussed - "Disability Visibility" is relentless and fierce in its commitment to an honest portrayal of the disability experience. It begins with Wong's own introduction to the collection, an introduction birthed out of Wong's own life experiences and her own work with the Disability Visibility Project, a collaboration with StoryCorps, that serves as the framework for this collection. It would be unjust to describe the essays in "Disability Visibility" with any detail, though some highlights include Harriet McBryde Johnson's riveting and squirm-inducing account of her debate with Princeton University philosopher Peter Singer, an animal rights activist who doesn't possess the same kind of regard for the lives of persons with disabilities. Upcoming authors Keah Brown and Haben Girma share involving original pieces, while some of my own favorites included s.e. smith's essays on crip space, Jamison Hill's poignant and beautiful "Love Means Never Having to Say...Anything," Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha's "Still Dreaming Wild Disability Justice Dreams at the End of the World," the intelligent and angry Harriet Tubman Collective's "Disability Solidarity," Britney Wilson's disturbing essay on NYC's Paratransit program, and Mari Ramsawakh's "Incontinence Is a Public Health Issue And We Need To Talk About It," the latter being an essay that truly connected with pieces of my own disability experience as a 54-year-old writer, creator, and film journalist who is also a paraplegic/double amputee with spina bifida. There were more essays that I loved, truly loved. There were essays that flew over my head including Jillian Weise's "Common Cyborg." I felt like I wanted to find Wong or Weise on social media and say "Explain this to me, because I have the feeling it's brilliant and I just don't quite get it." The truth is that I'd be hard-pressed to cite a single weak essay. These essays are revolutionary proclamations of the incredible richness and complexity of the disability experience. While there is much pain and anger within the pages of "Disability Visibility," it is also filled with much love and hope and wonder. As Neil Marcus so beautifully stated "Disability is not a brave struggle or "courage in the face of adversity." Disability is an art. It's an ingenious way to live." That truth, that disability is an ingenious way to live, is brought to life again and again in this groundbreaking collection of first-person stories from the twenty-first century that challenge and confront, claim space and serve as a literary companion of sorts. There's so many enlightening truths to be explored here, truths that will be easily embraced and understood by those with disabilities and their allies yet truths that also invite readers to challenge their own assumptions and understandings of the disability experience and disability culture. "Disability Visibility" is a book that illuminates the disability experience with equal parts intelligence and authentic emotional resonance. It's a book that is, at times, difficult to read yet a book that is necessary to read. It's a book I will undoubtedly revisit time and again, yet it's also a book that required I pace myself due to its stark honesty and and the often trauma-tinged stories of individual disability experiences. It's a book that captures it all and for that I am grateful and for that I highly recommend it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lily Herman

    Wow, what a force of a book. For many who read Alice Wong's Disability Visibility, this anthology will serve as an important jumping-off point into disability discourse as opposed to a final or concluding work. If you go in knowing that it'll leave you with an infinite number of experiences to read more about elsewhere, you'll get a lot out of this book. As with any anthology, some essays are a little more solidly constructed than others, but every single one touches on an important part of what i Wow, what a force of a book. For many who read Alice Wong's Disability Visibility, this anthology will serve as an important jumping-off point into disability discourse as opposed to a final or concluding work. If you go in knowing that it'll leave you with an infinite number of experiences to read more about elsewhere, you'll get a lot out of this book. As with any anthology, some essays are a little more solidly constructed than others, but every single one touches on an important part of what it means to live with a disability in a modern world. And as one essay touches on, ableist standards of what's "complete" in publishing often keep disabled writers and editors from sharing their truths. In terms of notes for reading, I recommend taking on a few essays at time to really let them sink in, especially because they run the gamut in terms of subject matter and structure. I also commend Wong for including an incredibly thorough list of resources at the end for those who want to learn more about the disability community as well as key conversations and debates. Another shout out goes to Wong for including specific content warnings at the top of every essay, making it easy for people to decide what they're okay reading about or maybe need to skip.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)

    What an anthology!! The range of perspectives and life experiences included in this collection of essays, and reviews I’ve seen from own voices readers commenting now seen they feel by this collection, is a testament to the wonderful work of Alice Wong in putting this together. This made for a really engaging thematic discussion across the text, including the form itself that some essays were made in (some are interviews, speeches, transcriptions, and more). One thing I took from reading this was What an anthology!! The range of perspectives and life experiences included in this collection of essays, and reviews I’ve seen from own voices readers commenting now seen they feel by this collection, is a testament to the wonderful work of Alice Wong in putting this together. This made for a really engaging thematic discussion across the text, including the form itself that some essays were made in (some are interviews, speeches, transcriptions, and more). One thing I took from reading this was an ongoing conversation around ableism, particularly internalized ableism, something that I’m trying to be more cognizant of in my own reading and responses to content. Grateful to have read an early copy via @netgalley.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    5/5stars Wonderful. Perfect. A great book for people unfamiliar with disability literature or theory as this is very accessible and easy to read as all the essays are very short and narrative-based. My favorites included: - Unspeakable Conversations by Harriet McBryde Johnson - If you can't fast, Give by Maysoon Zayid - The Isolation of Being Deaf in Prison originally told by Jeremy Woody - Guide Dogs Don't Lead Blind People. We Wander as One. by Haben Girma - Nurturing Black Disabled Joy by Keah Brow 5/5stars Wonderful. Perfect. A great book for people unfamiliar with disability literature or theory as this is very accessible and easy to read as all the essays are very short and narrative-based. My favorites included: - Unspeakable Conversations by Harriet McBryde Johnson - If you can't fast, Give by Maysoon Zayid - The Isolation of Being Deaf in Prison originally told by Jeremy Woody - Guide Dogs Don't Lead Blind People. We Wander as One. by Haben Girma - Nurturing Black Disabled Joy by Keah Brown - Why My Novel is Dedicated to my Disabled Friend Maddy by A. H. Reaume - Lost Cause by Reyma McCoy McDeid - Disability Solidarity by Harriet Tubman Collective (a GREAT essay for people who are interested in learning more about the BLM movement and Black Lives in America as this touches on disabled/Deaf Black people and how they are not as represented in the BLM movement and what we can do to correct that!!) - Time's Up For Me, Too by Karolyn Gehrig

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. You may or may not know that 1 out of every 5 Americans is disabled, whether visible or not, and that number is even more startling for Black Americans, wherein 1 in every 4 are disabled. This collection, expertly curated and edited by disability activist Alice Wong, is not only timely, but it’s a vital anthology for readers -- abled and disabled -- to understand the realities of disability and disability justice today. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. You may or may not know that 1 out of every 5 Americans is disabled, whether visible or not, and that number is even more startling for Black Americans, wherein 1 in every 4 are disabled. This collection, expertly curated and edited by disability activist Alice Wong, is not only timely, but it’s a vital anthology for readers -- abled and disabled -- to understand the realities of disability and disability justice today. Broken into four sections -- Being, Becoming, Doing, and Connecting -- each of the essays digs into something related to the theme at hand and each piece is tightly written by a wide range of contributors. Some of the names will be familiar, while others will be new names, but there’s not a single weak essay in the collection. Among the ones that really stood out to me included “The Isolation of Being Deaf in Prison,” wherein Jeremy Woody tells his experiences being Deaf behind bars to Christie Thomas. It’s something I’ve never thought about, despite my own interest with prison justice. In the Becoming section, Haben Girma’s piece on how guide dogs aren’t leading Blind people but instead are being led by them really made me pause. I had an incredible opportunity last year to spend time with Dr. Kathie Schneider, who founded and funds the Schneider Family Book Award for presentation of the disability experience in children’s literature, and she took me to the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire’s campus, wherein there’s a statue of a guide dog -- hers -- and what all it represents for the school and for the study, understanding, and humanity of those with disabilities. Girma’s essay was a reminder of how symbols mean so much more than what a general population might think they mean. This section also had a great piece by Keah Brown about Black Disabled Joy that reminded me how fantastic her writing is. Keshia Scott has a piece in this section, too, about asexuality and how it relates to the disability experience that will mean so much to queer -- especially ace -- readers. Zipporah Arielle wrote a powerful piece about why more celebrities like Selma Blair speaking up and out about disability and living visibly with it could make a tremendous impact for disability justice. Eugene Grant writes about Benjamin Lay, an abolitionist Dwarf, and how much a shame it is that people’s disabilities and bodies don’t take up more space in history books alongside what they did -- Lay’s story and experiences as a Dwarf would have changed so much, given that representation of Dwarfs in pop culture is as a joke or laughter or side kick and never central or hero. s.e. smith’s piece at the end of the book explores what it is to see a performance on stage where literally every performer is disabled, where there are interpreters for the show, and wherein nearly the entire audience is disabled as well -- and what happens when someone who is able-bodied takes the mic in that space. These essays will challenge you, whether or not you’re disabled, and they’ll be reminders of how much work there is still to do in order to make spaces accessible and welcoming to those of all disabilities, visible or not. Moreover, these pieces are a cry to center disabled voices and experiences when it comes to change and reform across all sociopolitical arenas, including in otherwise diverse spaces where disability is still not always part of an organization or movement’s mission. Necessary reading that’s easy to read cover to cover OR, like I did, pick up and put down to really think about what the pieces each said. We don’t have enough books about disability from disabled voices. This is a crucial addition to the small -- but growing -- shelf.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    "Stories are the closest we can come to shared experiences. ... Like all stories, they are most fundamentally a chance to ride around inside another head and be reminded that being who we are and where we are, and doing what we're doing, is not the only possibility." - Harriet McBryde Johnson This quote lies at the heart of why I love reading books. The chance to experience other lives, other people's thoughts and emotions, other time periods and other worlds. It's also the driving force behind D "Stories are the closest we can come to shared experiences. ... Like all stories, they are most fundamentally a chance to ride around inside another head and be reminded that being who we are and where we are, and doing what we're doing, is not the only possibility." - Harriet McBryde Johnson This quote lies at the heart of why I love reading books. The chance to experience other lives, other people's thoughts and emotions, other time periods and other worlds. It's also the driving force behind Disability Visibility and the reason why I highly recommend you read it. To start with, set aside any desires to be inspired. "The word inspired is reviled by many in the disability community, who often are the subject of pity or undue praise for merely existing. ... There is a tendency in our culture to turn disabled people into objects of what's known as inspiration porn." -- Zipporah Arielle. Disability Visibility doesn't shy from the harsh reality of disability in today's world, all the challenges--micro and macro--that most people never think about or are even aware of. It can be uncomfortable as well as illuminating. Disability Visibility is also designed to both broaden and give nuance and complexity to your images of disability. "The face of the disability community is very white. People don't often think of people of color or of LGBTQ+ people when they think of us. Instead, they think of cis white male wheelchair users who hate themselves, because that is so often the way pop culture depicts us." -- Keah Brown. Two stories stayed with me the most in this collection. (And as a good sign of how well-curated the essays are, I see that other Goodreads reviewers had their own favorites.) The first was the essay by Britney Wilson as she shares the experience of using the NYC's Paratransit system. In theory, this sounds like a brilliant idea. The reality is far from it. And light years away from the experience that so many of us have with Uber and Lyft. The second was by Jeremy Woody who served four years for a probation violation. He's Deaf and communicates with sign language. This was just part of the discrimination he faced: "I met several other deaf people while I was incarcerated. But we were all in separate dorms. I would have liked to meet with them and sign and catch up. But I was isolated." At times, things got farcical: "They housed us sometimes with blind folks, which for me made communication impossible. They couldn't see my signs or gestures, and I couldn't hear them." At the beginning, Alice Wong, who curated this collection of essays, outlines how she wants Disability Visibility to help shift perceptions and to show "disabled people simply being in our own words, by our own accounts." As a collection of voices, identities and lives, it works (although not all the essays work individually). And by the end of reading this, you're left with one clear thought and reminder: "It is a privilege to never have to consider the spaces you occupy." -- Sandy Ho. Thanks to Vintage for the ARC. All opinions are my own.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Siria

    Disability Visability is an anthology which brings together a variety of perspectives from disabled people on the 30th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Some of the pieces were written specifically for this anthology while others appeared previously in print or online. As with many such collections, this is somewhat of a mixed bag. All of the pieces are clearly written from a place of passion about each author's individual experience of disability. However, some of the writers Disability Visability is an anthology which brings together a variety of perspectives from disabled people on the 30th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Some of the pieces were written specifically for this anthology while others appeared previously in print or online. As with many such collections, this is somewhat of a mixed bag. All of the pieces are clearly written from a place of passion about each author's individual experience of disability. However, some of the writers are far stronger than others, and for every stand-out article there are a handful that at minimum needed another draft to reach their full potential. Still a worthwhile read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    Sometimes reading is a joyful experience. Sometimes it's deeply uncomfortable. And sometimes, like this book, it's both. The essays in Disability Visibility cover the experiences, lives, rages, desires, logic, and inherent personhood of the varied contributors, all of whose lives include the fact of their disabilities. At times reading this book made me deeply uncomfortable, mostly because of the ingrained and unquestioned assumptions, misconceptions, and often negative emotional reactions that Sometimes reading is a joyful experience. Sometimes it's deeply uncomfortable. And sometimes, like this book, it's both. The essays in Disability Visibility cover the experiences, lives, rages, desires, logic, and inherent personhood of the varied contributors, all of whose lives include the fact of their disabilities. At times reading this book made me deeply uncomfortable, mostly because of the ingrained and unquestioned assumptions, misconceptions, and often negative emotional reactions that I have toward disabilities. And even worse, it highlights the fact that in my life (so far and for now) I have had the luxury of not having to worry about, advocate for, or even understand how disability, and particularly being disabled in our society, has on all aspects of life. Eye opening and well worth a read. **Thanks to the editor, publisher, and NetGalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christina || All My Book Clubs Are Dead

    This disability anthology is remarkable in that nearly every essay is an important read. In Wong's introduction she clarifies that this anthology may make you uncomfortable, but it isn't written to ask for your empathy. Instead it seeks to simple present disabled people "being." In all #OwnVoices books, we are able to read about a person's experience, knowing that it does not speak for every person but that it does depict, in truth, that one person's experience. This collection will undoubtedly This disability anthology is remarkable in that nearly every essay is an important read. In Wong's introduction she clarifies that this anthology may make you uncomfortable, but it isn't written to ask for your empathy. Instead it seeks to simple present disabled people "being." In all #OwnVoices books, we are able to read about a person's experience, knowing that it does not speak for every person but that it does depict, in truth, that one person's experience. This collection will undoubtedly allow you to re-think and observe your own ideas about disability, particularly if you are an able-bodied person like myself. I'm grateful for the time and care that went into creating this and compiling such a robust collection of essays. . Thanks to NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group for an advanced copy. All opinions are my own.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Priscilla (Bookie Charm)

    Everyone should read this. Also each essay is prefaced with content warnings.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sunny

    Expansive and wonderful and necessary. If you care about marginalized people you need to read this!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sonaksha

    I don't think I can find enough words to recommend this book to EVERY SINGLE PERSON. Anthologies are usually tricky for me but this one - I jumped into and loved with all my heart. There was something I took from or felt deeply about in every story and it stayed with me through the days. I cried more times than I can remember because as someone living with chronic pain and mental illness, I'm not sure when the last time was that I felt so seen by a book. As I went from story to story, one thing I don't think I can find enough words to recommend this book to EVERY SINGLE PERSON. Anthologies are usually tricky for me but this one - I jumped into and loved with all my heart. There was something I took from or felt deeply about in every story and it stayed with me through the days. I cried more times than I can remember because as someone living with chronic pain and mental illness, I'm not sure when the last time was that I felt so seen by a book. As I went from story to story, one thing stayed with me: we need MORE of this in the world. Spaces created by and for disabled people - to share, be, and love. As I got to the last story, my notes told me I'd highlighted over 150 times while reading. I'm so grateful to Alice Wong for curating and editing this anthology - that will no doubt be on many bedside tables, like mine, to hold close and feel a sense of solidarity. I'm so thankful to all those who shared their stories and realities - filled with pain, pleasure, passion and pride. I want to end this gushing note (review?) for now, urging you to read this and leaving you with these powerful words from Elsa Sjunneson. I am a disabled woman. I have learned to suppress, to fold, to disappear. When I fold down my rage, I fold down myself. I make myself smaller, prettier, easier to consume.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sachi Argabright

    DISABILITY VISIBILITY edited by Alice Wong features 37 first person essays from people with disabilities. This collection features perspectives from individuals with a wide range of disabilities, but the editor notes that this only scratches the surface as disabilities are very broad. The book notes that 1 in 5 people in America live with a disability, and are extremely underrepresented in culture and media. This book aims to change that, and bring much needed representation to the disabled comm DISABILITY VISIBILITY edited by Alice Wong features 37 first person essays from people with disabilities. This collection features perspectives from individuals with a wide range of disabilities, but the editor notes that this only scratches the surface as disabilities are very broad. The book notes that 1 in 5 people in America live with a disability, and are extremely underrepresented in culture and media. This book aims to change that, and bring much needed representation to the disabled community. I loved this book! I embarrassingly didn’t know much about disabled individuals until I met and started working with someone with chronic illnesses. She made me realize I had this blind spot, and when she highly recommended this title - I knew I had to pick it up! Biggest things I took away from this collection: many disabilities are invisible and we cannot assume we know what people are feeling, time bends when you’re disabled, people with disabilities are at a high risk for sexual assault and police brutality (and how disability sentiment was not included in The Movement for Black Lives). The insightful perspectives of all the contributors are also featured in a wide array of formats including essays, Ted Talk transcripts, interviews, and speeches. This book is also very accessible, with applicable trigger warnings at the start of each essay. Overall, this book opened my eyes to the wide range of diseases and conditions under the disability umbrella. These conditions need to be more mainstream, and need to be normalized because they are health issues that mean life or death for disabled people. There are a ton of resources and references to other readings in this book, and I look forward to reading them in the future. Great for readers who want to learn more about disabled experiences from many unique perspectives.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    Not able to write much of a review right now, but this was an important and engaging read, and I'm so glad all of these folks are getting the chance to make their voices heard. I hope non-disabled folks read this to learn more and gain deeper empathy, and I hope other disabled readers can see themselves represented here.

  16. 5 out of 5

    cubierocks

    Some real stunners in here, these are my faves: Unspeakable Conventions The Erasure of Indigenous People in Chronic Illness The Isolation of Being Deaf in Prison I'm Tired of Chasing a Cure Last But Not Least - Embracing Asexuality How to Make a Paper Crane from Rage The Antiabortion Bill You Aren't Hearing About So. Not. Broken Six Ways of Looking at Crip Time ---- I highly recommend picking this up!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Panda Incognito

    This is a collection of essays by people with various disabilities, all of whom challenge the status quo, push back against ableist views, and write about their own unique life experiences. I found this very educational, and some of the essays are extremely engaging, like the one about the disability advocate who publicly debated Peter Singer about his eugenicist views. However, the quality varies widely. I ended up skimming some of the essays, especially as I got further into the book, because This is a collection of essays by people with various disabilities, all of whom challenge the status quo, push back against ableist views, and write about their own unique life experiences. I found this very educational, and some of the essays are extremely engaging, like the one about the disability advocate who publicly debated Peter Singer about his eugenicist views. However, the quality varies widely. I ended up skimming some of the essays, especially as I got further into the book, because many of them are very repetitive and lack thought diversity. There is nothing wrong with various people reinforcing the same points, but many of them did so in the exact same way. This was especially common when people were sharing political messages, and even though some writers conveyed political ideas in a meaningful way through their personal stories, others just repeated the same canned ideas again and again. I don't doubt the sincerity of the individual writers, but I began to wonder if disabled people who hold different political views, or who don't use the same slogans and phrases, would have even been invited to contribute to this collection. This book would also have benefited from religious diversity. There is an essay from a Muslim about the challenges of choosing whether or not to fast for Ramadan, and a Christian woman wrote about learning to love and enjoy church apart from other people's expectation that she should seek divine healing. However, aside from one mention of someone else's involvement in a disability ministry at their church, that's it. Out of thirty-seven essays, two connect with someone's religious experiences, and a third mentions church in passing. The vast majority of the essays are completely secular, and a large number explicitly express atheist views. I wish that this book were more inclusive and balanced, because even though it's fine for someone to create an essay collection that focuses on secular views or particular political philosophies, this book isn't billed that way. Its back cover description says that it conveys the "vast richness and complexity of the disabled experience," and its goal is to uplift the voices of marginalized people and help them share their stories to a wide audience. Thus, even though I would like to give this book four stars for the educational and persuasive power of the best essays, I am reducing it to three for its deceptively narrow focus.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Fern Adams

    WHAT A BOOK! This really is a must read for everyone. Alice Wong has collected the stories and voices of many disabled people from all walks of life in this book and compiled it for the 30th anniversary of the ADA in the USA. For disabled people this really is a book to show you’re not alone and realise that there is a community out there. That disability pride matters and your experiences and stories should be heard. For ableds this is also an important book, it points out all the stories and WHAT A BOOK! This really is a must read for everyone. Alice Wong has collected the stories and voices of many disabled people from all walks of life in this book and compiled it for the 30th anniversary of the ADA in the USA. For disabled people this really is a book to show you’re not alone and realise that there is a community out there. That disability pride matters and your experiences and stories should be heard. For ableds this is also an important book, it points out all the stories and experiences that should be out there, that the disabled community is diverse, rich in complexity and talents and experiences and should never just be written off. It shows the injustices that pervade and are ignored. Most importantly though it shows we’re not just passive individuals or inspiration porn but people who matter as much as everyone else. We need more books like this! Thank you Alice Wong!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marie Ainomugisha

    The authors in Disability Visibility shine light on various disabilities that extend beyond the social ossifications of the term “disabled”. There are incredibly compelling and moving stories from clothing for people with disabilities (especially those at the intersection of living as transgender or gender non-conforming), to critiques of the spectacle that the abled world makes of people with disabilities—both apparent and obscure illnesses, to intimate stories of interdependency and community The authors in Disability Visibility shine light on various disabilities that extend beyond the social ossifications of the term “disabled”. There are incredibly compelling and moving stories from clothing for people with disabilities (especially those at the intersection of living as transgender or gender non-conforming), to critiques of the spectacle that the abled world makes of people with disabilities—both apparent and obscure illnesses, to intimate stories of interdependency and community support in dreaming disability justices and livabilities. Beyond appreciative of Alice Wong for threading these contributions together.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Cavar

    Some great pieces here, but they’re interspersed with uncomfortable pseudo-advertisements (Rebirth Garments) and are least one story with a real penchant for medical/psychiatric apologism. It’s certainly worth a critical read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    An immensely important and thought provoking book. I really think every able bodied person needs to pick this one up, sit with their discomfort while reading, reflect and learn.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Abby Kincer

    Fuller review to come, but until then— Absolutely fantastic anthology. Each story better than the next. I could read more from these incredible voices forever. I so highly recommend this to all.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    This book is a sacred text. As my heart has broken over the ongoing losses of disabled lives by state violence + covid, this book nurtured, held and sowed community back into my life. Read this! If u are a disabled person who needs this book, plz message!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sora

    This was so good!!!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    An indispensable collection of essays that everyone must read. Disability justice is tied with all social justice movements. We cannot keep excluding the disabled community from our collective fight for freedom. Please read this book!!!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tessa

    CW: Many, they are noted at the beginning of each essay. Disability Visibility is an anthology that shares the voices and experiences of 36 people with disabilities. The different perspectives are intersectional, sharing the experiences of BIPOC people, and LGBTQ+ people. This isn’t a series of inspiring stories about people overcoming their disabilities to achieve their dreams. This is a series of mostly essays the highlight the experiences of disabled people. This book was not what I expected CW: Many, they are noted at the beginning of each essay. Disability Visibility is an anthology that shares the voices and experiences of 36 people with disabilities. The different perspectives are intersectional, sharing the experiences of BIPOC people, and LGBTQ+ people. This isn’t a series of inspiring stories about people overcoming their disabilities to achieve their dreams. This is a series of mostly essays the highlight the experiences of disabled people. This book was not what I expected going in, and I think that’s why this book is so important. I learned a lot from reading this, and it really made me think about how to be truly intersectional disability rights need to be centred. This book should be added to everyone’s reading list! Thank you to Netgalley and Vintage books for the advanced copy.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lexi (Reads and Riesling)

    This collection is the most intersectional essay collection I have ever read. Writers from a wide range of disability, race, religion, and gender and sexual orientation shared their experiences with no holds barred. The openness of these writers was truly special and lovely to read. The essays were honest and raw, but hopeful and full of joy. This is the best essay collection I’ve ever read and I would recommend it to every single person. This is the book you should read. Thank you to Knopf Doubl This collection is the most intersectional essay collection I have ever read. Writers from a wide range of disability, race, religion, and gender and sexual orientation shared their experiences with no holds barred. The openness of these writers was truly special and lovely to read. The essays were honest and raw, but hopeful and full of joy. This is the best essay collection I’ve ever read and I would recommend it to every single person. This is the book you should read. Thank you to Knopf Doubleday and NetGalley for access to this e-ARC.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Disability Visibility edited by Alice Wong is a collection of essays relaying personal experiences of disability and how they are still ignored and treated as less than. I learned so many things about the disabled experience in the United States and was often shocked by how far behind other marginalized groups they are in gaining and enforcing rights. For example, a "1927 Supreme Court case ruled that sterilization of people with disabilities is constitutional." This has still not been overturne Disability Visibility edited by Alice Wong is a collection of essays relaying personal experiences of disability and how they are still ignored and treated as less than. I learned so many things about the disabled experience in the United States and was often shocked by how far behind other marginalized groups they are in gaining and enforcing rights. For example, a "1927 Supreme Court case ruled that sterilization of people with disabilities is constitutional." This has still not been overturned and is sometimes even used as an "incentive" toward release from incarceration. Additionally, I learned that while prisons are legally required to provide Deaf prisoners with interpreters for counseling sessions, meetings with their lawyers, and education classes, they often do not. There are many types of disability represented in this collection from Deafness, blindness, wheelchair users, and the chronically ill. Not only that, but there are several essays focusing on the intersection between disability and of LGBT+ communities and ethnic minorities. Some talk about their struggle to accept the label "disabled" as they were previously able-bodied and still have ingrained ableism. Others talk about how they could do more, if only our society gave more allowances and adaptations to help meet them where they are. A few essays gave examples of how these authors are succeeding because of the creative ways they approach problems. These essays were not only illuminating to understand the struggles and conditions disabled people have on a daily basis, but I felt seen as a person who has a chronic illness. The majority of the essays either taught me something or made a deep impression on me. Alice Wong writes in the introduction, "Collectively, through our stories, our connections, and our actions, disabled people will continue to confront and transform the status quo." I feel that's exactly what this essay collection does. I gave this book 4 stars and highly recommend to everyone. This book will be published June 30, 2020. Thank you Netgalley for an advanced copy.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jess Ur

    "There is so much that able-bodied people could learn from the wisdom that often comes with disability. But space needs to be made. Hands need to be reached out. People need to be lifted up." (A.H. Resume, 147) This collection of writing is bold. It is heartwarming and also painful at times. Through my reading experience I believe that these stories, at their collective core, produce an urgent and necessary call to action. The writers intimately and unapologetically share what it means to live wi "There is so much that able-bodied people could learn from the wisdom that often comes with disability. But space needs to be made. Hands need to be reached out. People need to be lifted up." (A.H. Resume, 147) This collection of writing is bold. It is heartwarming and also painful at times. Through my reading experience I believe that these stories, at their collective core, produce an urgent and necessary call to action. The writers intimately and unapologetically share what it means to live with (dis)abilities in an ableist society. "...the presence or absence of a disability doesn't predict quality of life." (Harriet McBryde Johnson,8) "We take constraints that no one would choose and build rich and satisfying lives within them. We enjoy pleasures other people enjoy and pleasures peculiarly our own. We have something the world needs." (Harriet McBryde Johnson, 11) We must not fall into the trap of only seeing disability as something sad which able-bodied people can be thankful to be unburdened by or as something broken to be fixed. We cannot only dream of 'healthy' babies while erasing lives or objectifying people by turning them into 'inspiration porn.' “The word inspired is reviled by many in the disability community,who often are the subject of pity or undue praise merely for existing. But disabled people don't exist to make abled people feel better about their abledness." (144, Zipporah Arielle) Able-bodied and neurotypical people must take the time to listen to the ‘inspiring,’ stories; moreover, to listen to the everyday, often mundane experiences to bolster unheard voices and become effective allies to the disabled community. There are over a billion people living with disabilities worldwide and like all marginalized groups, folks with disabilities have been systemically silenced and ostracized from public discourse and policy. This writing shares first hand experiences of what living with disabilities is really like-it does not occur in a vacuum. "We call upon organizations that label themselves 'intersectional' to truly embrace that framework,and we remain as a resource and network of support to any who seek this end. We demand a centering of the Black Disabled/Deaf narrative, as this narrative represents 60 to 80 percent of those murdered by police-including all of those names that the Movement continues to uplift while erasing and dishonoring part of their humanity..." (Harriet Tubman Collective,240) We need more disabled voices to lead social justice as the issues and identities of disabled people are intersectional. They are best understood in how they really exist within the context of race/ethnicity, gender, culture, class, LGBTQIA2S+ identities, etc. We cannot continue to do trickle-down social justice and believe that focusing on one identity will magically improve the disparity and injustices faced by all other groups.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Yasmine Hentati

    Published in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, this collection starkly illuminates the reality that disabled folks already know intimately: how far our society still has to go. This is a poignant collection that, as Wong states in the foreword, is meant to and probably will make you uncomfortable. Written by and for disabled people, I am sure it will make many feel represented and heard, but it's also crucial for nondisabled people to consume works suc Published in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, this collection starkly illuminates the reality that disabled folks already know intimately: how far our society still has to go. This is a poignant collection that, as Wong states in the foreword, is meant to and probably will make you uncomfortable. Written by and for disabled people, I am sure it will make many feel represented and heard, but it's also crucial for nondisabled people to consume works such as this anthology, which highlight perspectives you likely have never considered if you are abled. If you say you "read diversely" but are not including disabled voices in your reading, sorry but you don't read diversely. This took me almost two months to finish. The stories were so vast in perspective and subject matter that I feel like appreciated them more reading a couple a week as opposed to all at once; I also probably used half a highlighter on this book (I haven't highlighted a book since I was in school). Alice Wong, founder of the Disability Visibility Project, has put together a spectacular, intersectional collection of essays from disabled authors ranging in topics from transit accessibility, to service dogs, to representation on the red carpet,. Many of these are articles, essays, speeches, or interviews previously published elsewhere, while some were written for the book, and I would love to know Wong's thought process of choosing pieces. I really appreciated Wong's effort in including folks with invisible disabilities, including neurodivergent people, people with autoimmune conditions, or other invisible chronic illnesses. I don't have the book on me, but from looking at other lists, my standouts were: Jeremy Woody's "The Isolation of Being Deaf in Prison" Patty Berne's "To Survive Climate Catastrophe, Look to Queer and Disabled Folks" (as told to Vanessa Raditz) Ricardo T. Thornton Sr.'s "We Can't Go Back" Harriet Tubman Collective's "Disability Solidarity" Haben Girma's "Guide Dogs Don't Lead Blind People. We Wander As One." Harriet McBryde Johnson's "Unspeakable Conversations" Maysoon Zayid's "If You Can't Fast, Give" Keah Brown's "Nurturing Black Disabled Joy" Reyma McCoy McDeid's "Lost Cause" A.H. Reaume's "Why My Novel is Dedicated to My Disabled Friend Maddy" ..ok I have to stop because I could list all of them. The only thing I would have changed is some of the essays could have used a bit of editing, but I imagine they were printed as close to possible as their previous format or publication, so I don't fault Wong for this. Wong includes content warnings at the beginning of each essay, as well as a short biography of each author at the end and a "Further Reading" list (including fiction!) which I really appreciated. For me, this was a mix of familiar authors and new voices, and I already have a long list of Wong's recommendations and more work from some of the authors highlighted.

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