Waist-High in the World: A Life among the Nondisabled

Waist-High in the World: A Life among the Nondisabled

5.0 1
by Nancy Mairs
     
 
For years now, essayist Nancy Mairs, with the progression of her multiple sclerosis, has lived in a wheelchair. She now explores the subject that has always been in the background of her writing — disability & the way it shapes a life. She gives us a brilliant portrait of an issue & experience too rarely portrayed & talked about. First, she talks about the

Overview

For years now, essayist Nancy Mairs, with the progression of her multiple sclerosis, has lived in a wheelchair. She now explores the subject that has always been in the background of her writing — disability & the way it shapes a life. She gives us a brilliant portrait of an issue & experience too rarely portrayed & talked about. First, she talks about the personal history of her disease, the intimate realities of the body, the moral economy of care & caregiving, & life with her husband & children. Then she covers women with disabilities, obstacles physical & social, the ethics of selective abortion & euthanasia, the joys & troubles of travel, & more.

Editorial Reviews

Marian Sandmeier
Woe is not her, as she makes clear throughout this absorbing, laceratingly honest book.…This social construction of disability…is what Mairs most wants us to "get" in this passionate, penetrating book—and then get over.
The Washington Post Book World
Michael Haederle
Vintage Mairs: sharply observed, deeply personal and always direct.
Los Angeles Times
Kathy Wolfe
As helpful as Mairs's book will be to disable people, what's most important about it is its lessons for able-bodied readers.
The Progressive
Donna Seaman
Mairs's physical view of the world may be waist-high, but her intellectual and spiritual range is limitless.
Booklist
Sallie Bingham
Graceful yet gritty paradoxes drive this extraordinary book, which uses the author's degenerative disease, multiple sclerosis, as a window into a very particular soul....Let the reader understand: this is not a book about MS, or illness; rather, it's a chronicle of inspired adaption, spiritual as well as physical...The aim is the creation of joy.
The New Mexican
Kirkus Reviews
Ten more striking essays from the remarkable author of Ordinary Time (1993) and Voice Lessons (1994).

A bare-bones description of Mairs's situation—she has severe multiple sclerosis that is progressively worsening, and her caretaker husband has cancer with an uncertain prognosis—might well deter the reader anxious to avoid either a depressing soap opera or a sentimental feel-good book. Happily, this is neither. "I ask you to read this book," says Mairs, "not to be uplifted, but to be lowered and steadied into what may be unfamiliar, but is not inhospitable, space." With wit, wisdom, and candor she contemplates the body and world she inhabits. Among her concerns are sex, language, mobility, the rights of the disabled, caregiving and caretaking, euthanasia, and abortion, especially the implications for the disabled of the right to abort a fetus known to be defective. There's a certain amount of adventure here too, for which Mairs's wry tone is wonderfully apt. When she takes part in an undercover operation to gather evidence concerning a scam to bilk thousands of dollars from MS victims, truth and justice are among the losers. When she and her husband and daughter decide to take a week's vacation in New Mexico in a rental vehicle soon dubbed "the Camper from Hell," the results are both poignant and comic. Perhaps the most unforgettable adventure, if one can call it that, is a day she spends alone when caretaking arrangements fall apart. Such seemingly simple tasks as taking a shower and fixing a lunch are revealed to be, for her, astonishingly intricate undertakings.

At one point Mairs asserts that "this is no piteously deprived state I'm in down here but a rich, complicated, and utterly absorbing process of immersion in whatever the world has to offer." What she offers here is a rich, startling, and utterly absorbing view of that world.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780788159985
Publisher:
DIANE Publishing Company
Publication date:
01/28/1999
Pages:
212

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Waist-High in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled 0 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 0 reviews.