The View from My Ordinary, Resilient, Disabled Body
A memoir-in-essays from disability advocate and creator of the Instagram account @sitting_pretty Rebekah Taussig, processing a lifetime of memories to paint a beautiful, nuanced portrait of a body that looks and moves differently than most.
If you enjoyed Hunger, then you’ll love Sitting Pretty.
“Brilliantly written, hugely important book. This should be required reading. I'm ashamed to say that my knowledge and understanding of disability in America, and in general, is lacking. This is one of many books to increase my own awareness and begin to shift my point of view. Taussig's organization and directness is unmatched. She truly hits on all the major points with such care. There is no shame mongering in her words—she is putting you straight or lifting you up with encouragement. My particular wows in this book (and really, every chapter was a wow) were how someone is only disabled in relation to how we've made the world. If a hearing person walked into a room fully of people speaking sign language, they would be at a disadvantage, it's all about perspective. I also enjoyed her picking apart popular media and entertainment for ableism (hero videos and celebration of curing/healing/eliminating a disability as if that is the end goal, therefore perpetrating the belief that being disabled is somehow wrong or weak). I recommend this to literally anyone. Taussig's audiobook narration is particularly great and even includes the list of recommended reading and further learning at the end which is so often skipped over in audiobook editions.”Kimi, Buttonwood Books and Toys
Growing up as a paralyzed girl during the 90s and early 2000s, Rebekah Taussig only saw disability depicted as something monstrous (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), inspirational (Helen Keller), or angelic (Forrest Gump). None of this felt right. As she got older, she longed for more stories that allowed disability to be complex and ordinary, uncomfortable and fine, painful and fulfilling.
Writing about the rhythms and textures of what it means to live in a body that doesn’t fit, Rebekah reflects on everything from the complications of kindness and charity, living both independently and dependently, experiencing intimacy, and how the pervasiveness of ableism in our everyday media directly translates to everyday life.
Disability affects all of us, directly or indirectly, at one point or another. By exploring this truth in poignant and lyrical essays, Taussig illustrates the need for more stories and more voices to understand the diversity of humanity. Sitting Pretty challenges us as a society to be patient and vigilant, practical and imaginative, kind and relentless, as we set to work to write an entirely different story.
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