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Book Review: Disability Visibility edited by Alice Wong

Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century, edited by Alice Wong is a collection of essays from disabled authors covering a wide range of topics. Feminist Book Club selected the book for May and a portion of sales was donated to the Disability Visibility Project, founded by Alice Wong. FBC also featured the project here.

The book was published on the 30th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act and is divided into four sections. The first section “Being” focuses on the daily challenges of living with a disability, “Becoming” focuses on how to follow a life-affirming path, “Doing” shows the accomplishments that affect the contributors and the society, and “Connecting” illustrates the ways that disabled people have found methods to overcome isolation. The essays take all kinds of forms: non-fiction, poetry, interviews, fiction, and podcasts.

The essays feature numerous issues like relationships, an ableist society, visibility of disability in popular culture, creating an all-inclusive space, public transit system, the legal system, disability activism, social media, and even fashion choices. As an able-bodied person, the essays were eye-opening. The essays discuss about genetic disabilities as well as how people can become disabled after accidents. I had absolutely no idea about the problems that disabled people face or about the systems that reinforce the rules and regulations. This felt like a comprehensive collection for someone who has limited knowledge about disabled people and disability rights. It is a good starting point and there are resources at the end of the book for further reading.

Rashmila likes to read books by/about women/people of color. She prefers fiction to reality. A dog parent and word ninja, she volunteers for non-profits and is multilingual. Favorite genre- contemporary literary fiction.

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