This was a solid collection of essays from voices rarely heard in publishing, or elsewhere. Ableism is baked into our culture. I read this for Read Harder this year, and this is why I like participating in that challenge every year, because there are always a couple books I probably would never have read otherwise, and this is one of those.
Like most essay collections, there are essays that are stronger than others. The standouts for me were the very first essay by Harriet McBryde Johnson, in which she famously took on a debate with a man who was advocating aborting fetuses with disabilities and genetic conditions, so basically a eugenicist, which means she was effectively advocating for her own right to exist for public spectacle. It was gobsmacking.
Other standouts were the essays by Ariel Henley (which takes on the Golden Ratio), Haben Girma (about seeing eye dogs), Keah Brown (about nurturing Black disabled joy), Zipporah Arielle (about Selma Blair and her fabulous cane), Wanda Diaz-Merced (about innovations in science that makes it possible to hear instead of see results), Shoshana Kessock (about being bipolar, in which she muses on Hannah Gadsby), and Britney Wilson (about NYC’s paratransit network).
Read Harder Challenge 2021: Read an own voices book about disability.