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Waist-High in the World: A Life Among the…

Waist-High in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled (1996)

by Nancy Mairs

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A different approach to the standard disabled biography. Nancy Mairs is very blunt, and at times shocking in her honesty. Her point of view is less that of a person with MS, and more from the approach of a women living life from a wheelchair. I appreciate her blunt appraisal and the various affects of an obvious disability while living life. ( )
  need2sleep | Mar 15, 2009 |
A lot of other books refer to this book as the authoritative book in the biographies-of-people-with-MS category, and I think I went into it with above-average expectations due to this. The first few chapters almost had me putting it away, but it redeemed itself in the later chapters. I'm not sure there was anything about it that really bothered me, it just wasn't above-average like I went into it expecting. A fairly good, if inconsistent, MS-related-biograpy. ( )
  sarahemm | Apr 14, 2007 |
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There is only one question: how to love this world. --Mary Oliver "Spring"
for Andrew Hrycyna enabler par excellence
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I cannot begin to write this book.
For some reason, at any rate, the English attitude seens to be that infirmity, in and of itself, deserves compensation and solicitude. In the States, these is nothing meritorious about affliction. On the contrary, it is deemed shameful and at least a little suspect, as though one had become crippled on purpose and must be given as little consideration as possible lest one be tempted to suffer even more.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0807070874, Paperback)

Nancy Mairs, a gifted essayist who is fierce and funny by turns, landed in a wheelchair years ago due to degenerative multiple sclerosis that has sapped much of her strength. She bends an agile mind and sharp tongue around the daily tasks of seeing eye-to-navel with a world that clearly prefers nondisabled "normals." One candid, pained essay tells of longing to give care, not just accept it. Others describe the shifting line in the sands marking limits she could live with; teeth-grinding frustration at foolish building practices that keep even public bathrooms out of her reach; and a discomforting adventure as an undercover agent exposing a drug fraud aimed at people with diseases like MS.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:41 -0400)

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In Waist-High in the World, Mairs explores in her inimitable voice the subject that has always been in the background of her writing, but which she takes on here for the first time at book-length - disability and the way it shapes a life. The result is a brave and beautiful book that will open new worlds for readers. It begins with a disavowal ("I cannot begin to write this book....I don't want to think about my crippled life") and ends with a declaration of hope ("I. choose joy"). In between, Mairs gives us a brilliant portrait of an issue and experience too rarely portrayed and talked about. She begins with subjects close to home: the personal history of her disease, the intimate realities of the body, the moral economy of care and caregiving, life with her husband and children. The second half of the book covers topics that look outward: women with disabilities, obstacles physical and social, the ethics of selective abortion and. euthanasia, the joys and troubles of travel, and more.… (more)

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