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Growing Up Disabled in Australia

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'My body and its place in the world seemed quite normal to me.' ‘I didn’t grow up disabled, I grew up with a problem. A problem those around me wanted to fix.’ ‘We have all felt that uncanny sensation that someone is watching us.’ ‘The diagnosis helped but it didn’t fix everything.’ ‘Don’t fear the labels.’ One in five Australians have a disability. And disability presents itse 'My body and its place in the world seemed quite normal to me.' ‘I didn’t grow up disabled, I grew up with a problem. A problem those around me wanted to fix.’ ‘We have all felt that uncanny sensation that someone is watching us.’ ‘The diagnosis helped but it didn’t fix everything.’ ‘Don’t fear the labels.’ One in five Australians have a disability. And disability presents itself in many ways. Yet disabled people are still underrepresented in the media and in literature. Growing Up Disabled in Australia is the fifth book in the highly acclaimed, bestselling Growing Up series. It includes interviews with prominent Australians such as Senator Jordon Steele-John and Paralympian Isis Holt, poetry and graphic art, as well as more than 40 original pieces by writers with a disability or chronic illness. Contributors include Dion Beasley, Astrid Edwards, Jessica Walton, Carly-Jay Metcalfe, Gayle Kennedy and El Gibbs.


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'My body and its place in the world seemed quite normal to me.' ‘I didn’t grow up disabled, I grew up with a problem. A problem those around me wanted to fix.’ ‘We have all felt that uncanny sensation that someone is watching us.’ ‘The diagnosis helped but it didn’t fix everything.’ ‘Don’t fear the labels.’ One in five Australians have a disability. And disability presents itse 'My body and its place in the world seemed quite normal to me.' ‘I didn’t grow up disabled, I grew up with a problem. A problem those around me wanted to fix.’ ‘We have all felt that uncanny sensation that someone is watching us.’ ‘The diagnosis helped but it didn’t fix everything.’ ‘Don’t fear the labels.’ One in five Australians have a disability. And disability presents itself in many ways. Yet disabled people are still underrepresented in the media and in literature. Growing Up Disabled in Australia is the fifth book in the highly acclaimed, bestselling Growing Up series. It includes interviews with prominent Australians such as Senator Jordon Steele-John and Paralympian Isis Holt, poetry and graphic art, as well as more than 40 original pieces by writers with a disability or chronic illness. Contributors include Dion Beasley, Astrid Edwards, Jessica Walton, Carly-Jay Metcalfe, Gayle Kennedy and El Gibbs.

30 review for Growing Up Disabled in Australia

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carly Findlay

    Editor’s review I am the editor of Growing Up Disabled in Australia. This anthology is part of Black Inc’s Growing Up ... in Australia series. The anthology features prose, poetry and art by, and interviews with, more than 40 disabled people who have grown up in Australia. There are many experiences of disability included - a broad range of impairments, acceptance and pride - and anger - and also an intersectional approach, spanning age, gender, sexuality, race, culture and religion. Each contribu Editor’s review I am the editor of Growing Up Disabled in Australia. This anthology is part of Black Inc’s Growing Up ... in Australia series. The anthology features prose, poetry and art by, and interviews with, more than 40 disabled people who have grown up in Australia. There are many experiences of disability included - a broad range of impairments, acceptance and pride - and anger - and also an intersectional approach, spanning age, gender, sexuality, race, culture and religion. Each contributor tells their own story on their own terms, which is incredibly important when highlighting stories about disability and other marginalised groups. Nothing about us without us. While I have read all of the stories within Growing Up Disabled in Australia in various iterations - as first drafts, and then in the uncorrected proof, which I received last January, the delay in publishing due to Covid meant I haven’t read the book as a whole finished product until this past week.I narrated the audiobook. Obviously I knew what each writer’s chapter was about (I provided guidance on the content and structure when I selected each piece, and also checked in at various stages in the (very long) publishing process), but the @blackincbooks publishing team have worked with each of the the writers more closely than I have, to edit and refine their chapters. So what a delight it’s been to have quietly skimmed through each chapter in preparation for the narration, and then literally focus on every word as I’ve narrated it these past two days. As I wrote in my last post, I have often been left hanging, yearning to know what happens next, but cannot move to the next sentence until I’ve perfected the one I tripped upon. Some of the writing has made me laugh, and many lines have made me cry. It’s such a delight (and also very hard, but enjoyable) work to read it this way. The common themes I’ve seen are the way disabled people have been stuck in and betrayed by the medical system - often given false hopes and seen as a zoo exhibit; the way disability and chronic illness intersect; finding disability pride (or rejecting the term “disability’); and also the medical traumas, horrific abuse and near death experiences many disabled people have endured. I want readers to take great care reading this book, and to show the writers great respect for their candour. Another constant is the theme of eucalyptus - not surprising for an Australian native tree to be mentioned by multiple writers in a book about growing up disabled in Australia. This is a beautiful book which will help readers better understand disability, and especially help disabled people connect with each other. I am incredibly proud of each contributor - I can’t wait until you meet them. This is their book, and I’m thrilled to have had a hand in publishing them. Note - I’m totally counting this in my reading list of 2021!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Em

    I love this book. Wouldn’t it be amazing if it could be an annual anthology? More disabled stories by disabled people please. I need to buy a physical copy (the audible version is wonderful) but I need the physical copy to make notes. Thank you to all the contributors.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)

    The beauty of the Growing Up in Australia series, on my reading at least, is the individual essays and other writings that read as micro-memoirs all tethered to this specific discussion about identity. They lean into reflections on belonging and feeling excluded, into identities born or grown into later in life. They dance between specific memories, attempts to document a life lived thus far, or musings on what it even means to be able to identify a certain way. They may be essay or poetry or gr The beauty of the Growing Up in Australia series, on my reading at least, is the individual essays and other writings that read as micro-memoirs all tethered to this specific discussion about identity. They lean into reflections on belonging and feeling excluded, into identities born or grown into later in life. They dance between specific memories, attempts to document a life lived thus far, or musings on what it even means to be able to identify a certain way. They may be essay or poetry or graphic art, the play with form and quality of the writing a testament to the care taken in their curation. This most recent anthology sits well within the series more broadly and adds perspectives often not reflected in Australian literature—editor Carly Findlay notes in her introduction that it’s very publication creates history, and calls for publishers to publish works and for representation of disability in the industry. I think this anthology is operating on multiple fronts—while many of the contributions reckon with an individual journey to identifying as disabled and whether they even belong in the anthology (highly recommend the essay by Astrid Edwards which tackles this!), there’s also a celebration of the community that doesn’t read like it is written for an able-bodied “gaze.” (Kendra and I discussed this comparison of audience in two recent anthologies, ABOUT US and DISABILITY VISIBILITY on episode 96 of the Reading Women podcast—both texts that I think this anthology reads in conversation with). One of the benefits of capturing such a broad geographic and age range of contributors is that this anthology also works as a social history of disability in Australia, documenting the trajectory of ableism and community responses to disability, the role of institutions and attitudes of the medical and education professions. Importantly, it is a work that is now part of the historical record itself. For those following along with the series, the next anthology in the works is Growing Up in Country Australia edited by Rick Morton (submissions only recently closed so publication may be a little way off yet!) Many thanks to Black Inc for sending a review copy.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rob De

    Grabbed me from the first story. It was simply the best anthology I have read!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Claire Edwards

    I wish everyone would read this. So we would stop thinking stupid things about ourselves, or stop saying really insensitive things to others. But mostly it just reminds us not to think of disability or being disabled as a bad thing to be. I loved this read. I loved the intersectionaility of the contributors. I loved that some people sounded happy, some sounded fed up, some sounded content, some sounded humorous. Highly recommend. Really really really really loved it. Now a Netflix series would b I wish everyone would read this. So we would stop thinking stupid things about ourselves, or stop saying really insensitive things to others. But mostly it just reminds us not to think of disability or being disabled as a bad thing to be. I loved this read. I loved the intersectionaility of the contributors. I loved that some people sounded happy, some sounded fed up, some sounded content, some sounded humorous. Highly recommend. Really really really really loved it. Now a Netflix series would be great. 10 eps, 10 contributors stories.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Sareen

    A good read. Thought provoking This was a wonderful read. Something for all different reading styles here. Thought provoking. Would recommend to my friends. 5 stars.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cass Moriarty

    Growing Up Disabled in Australia (Black Inc 2021) is the latest in the anthology series depicting diverse experiences of Australian life, this publication edited by Carly Findlay. Featuring some famous names and some less famous but equally compelling storytellers, this book is a frank and informative ‘own voices’ memoir compilation of what it means to be labelled as disabled, how that affects people differently, the challenges disability provokes but also the strength and self-confidence people Growing Up Disabled in Australia (Black Inc 2021) is the latest in the anthology series depicting diverse experiences of Australian life, this publication edited by Carly Findlay. Featuring some famous names and some less famous but equally compelling storytellers, this book is a frank and informative ‘own voices’ memoir compilation of what it means to be labelled as disabled, how that affects people differently, the challenges disability provokes but also the strength and self-confidence people with disabilities often demonstrate in their lives. I learnt so much from this book, which explores the notion that disabled people often don’t grow up thinking themselves so – that disability is a social construct – ‘the social model sees disability as the result of the interaction between people living with impairments and an environment filled with physical, attitudinal, communication and social barriers … [that] therefore carries the implication that [those environments] must change to enable people living with impairments to participate in society on an equal basis with others.’ I understood better that disabilities are not always visible; that ignorance and discrimination often cause internalised ableism even in people with disabilities; that many people now embrace the label ‘disabled’ as a powerful way to define themselves and to advocate for others; that disability is an intersectional issue (the contributors are disabled but also perhaps chronically ill, mentally ill, neurodiverse, Indigenous, gay, non-binary, older Australians as well as younger people, from the cities and from rural areas, and of all genders, cultures and sexualities). Some of the included pieces are quite different in form and structure; some are funny, some sad, some frustrated or angry and some poignant. All are written with the complex emotions suffered by young people who grew up knowing they were different, and not always knowing how to deal with that, especially if their society or community around them made it more difficult because of exclusion, ableism, intolerance, impatience, ignorance or a lack of compassion. Some detail years of physical and emotional pain. Some depict circumstances so dire that the only response is admiration and respect. Nobody wants pity. Nobody wants special treatment or greater advantage. All each of the writers asks for is equality – a world in which they are able to navigate despite their disability, and not because of it. Contributors include disability advocate (and fashion icon!) Carly Findlay, parliamentarian Jordon Steele-John, Jessica Walton, Andy Jackson, Paralympian Isis Holt, Anna Whateley, Astrid Edwards and Carly-Jay Metcalfe. Some of the disabilities that the contributors to this anthology live with range from skin conditions to mental illness, from Marfan Syndrome to blindness to deafness, congenital muscle disease to autism to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, cerebral palsy to nervous system disorders, cystic fibrosis to auto-immune disorders, intellectual disability to fibromyalgia, polio to albinism, chronic fatigue to rare genetic disorders to multiple sclerosis. One in five Australians has a disability. For some, this is not a problem, except for those who want to ‘fix’ them. For many it means they are always watched or studied. For some, labels are distressing and disempowering, whereas others wear labels proudly and loudly. People with disabilities are – surprise, surprise – just as diverse as the rest of the population. This anthology is an opportunity for their voices to be heard and for them to be represented in current and mainstream literature.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ruby

    Omg, this book had me almost in tears at points, and at other points I wanted to high five people. What a wonderful, affirming, brilliant community of writers, and what an amazing anthology. This is a book I have longed to read for so long, and I hope there will be many more like it. A massive five stars from me. Just wonderful!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tristan Clare

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I swallowed this book whole. As a person who also grew up with a disability in Australia I was interested to read this. I could relate to the submissions about blindness as that is my particular disability. More interesting to me were the experiences of people who did not share my disability. Until the advent of social media, I didn't have a lot of contact with people who had other disabilities, so my knowledge of their experiences was pretty limited. Having read this book I've come to realise t I swallowed this book whole. As a person who also grew up with a disability in Australia I was interested to read this. I could relate to the submissions about blindness as that is my particular disability. More interesting to me were the experiences of people who did not share my disability. Until the advent of social media, I didn't have a lot of contact with people who had other disabilities, so my knowledge of their experiences was pretty limited. Having read this book I've come to realise that some of those experiences, both positive and negative, were universal. Others are specific to one disability. For instance, I could relate to the Riding for the Disabled story since I used to do that as a kid too. Nothing quite so dramatic happened but it was a nice, nostalgic trip down Memory Lane. What I liked best about this book was the different tones of stories. Some were furiously angry, others gut-wrenchingly sad, some were funny, some were poignant. I like that different persspectives about disability were explored and I think this would be a great book to give to non-disabled people to educate them gently about the social model of disability and to show that people with disabilities, just like the rest of humanity, are not a homogenous group of people with the same experiences and reactions.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laura Lewis

    Brava and Bravo. This is an great read. I love the diversity of stories and writing. So thrilled it’s going to reprint so quickly. A disabled life is a life of value and this book highlights that well

  11. 4 out of 5

    Todd Winther

    My essay entitled 'Luck and Anger' is featured. My essay entitled 'Luck and Anger' is featured.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Millar

    I absolutely love this book. It was fantastic to see the contributors discussing whether they identified as disabled, and it really resonated with me. Thank you, authors, for sharing your stories.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Leaf

    This instalment in the ‘Growing Up’ series means so much to me. Being able to have my disability experiences validated like this is incredible and so reassuring. Each story, regardless of relevant disability, resonated with me and truly reminded me that I am not alone with what I’m going through, and seeing so many of the contributors talk about their success in all faucets of their lives makes happiness seem so much more accessible for me. I am really struggling right now with the idea of me no This instalment in the ‘Growing Up’ series means so much to me. Being able to have my disability experiences validated like this is incredible and so reassuring. Each story, regardless of relevant disability, resonated with me and truly reminded me that I am not alone with what I’m going through, and seeing so many of the contributors talk about their success in all faucets of their lives makes happiness seem so much more accessible for me. I am really struggling right now with the idea of me not being able to actually thrive past high school and a book like this, showing first-hand accounts of life with disability being enough has done so much for me and I cannot recommend this book enough.

  14. 4 out of 5

    AJ Bond

    This anthology is everything! It not only created a space for the voices of disabled people but nurtured diversity within that space. I’ve been describing it as both a tearjerker and a warm hug but really this book is an act of resistance and I hope we see more like it in the future.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jas Shirrefs

    I genuinely really did like reading this anthology- which is not something I am saying just because I have an essay featured. Of course looking for some easy gratification I flipped straight open to my essay and read it as a stand alone and I was just plagued by self-criticism. But when I read the essay packed in between all other essays and comics there was something nicer about the form and I kind of made peace with everything. This book is arranged incredibly well- there is a flow and there i I genuinely really did like reading this anthology- which is not something I am saying just because I have an essay featured. Of course looking for some easy gratification I flipped straight open to my essay and read it as a stand alone and I was just plagued by self-criticism. But when I read the essay packed in between all other essays and comics there was something nicer about the form and I kind of made peace with everything. This book is arranged incredibly well- there is a flow and there is something really satisfying about this text read as a whole meanwhile some anthologies every little essay feels like a stark stop and start. We see many themes pop up again and we see circularity in literary techniques or content even though all essays are by different contributors. I appreciate that this text is available in Audiobook and different varieties of font sizes- I appreciate that access to the text was not an afterthought and that all of this has been coordinated well.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shadow Steve

    Having a disability is actually the worst thing that’s happened to me as a kid like being bullied at schools & having various issues on what I’m saying including my separated parents. So when I 1st read this book it actually shocked me to see what I read because what they said in this books actually reminds me of my worst childhood to my high school years I didn’t have that much friends as a kid. It even got me depressed for ‘trusting’ those who I never trust like teachers But I’m lucky enough to Having a disability is actually the worst thing that’s happened to me as a kid like being bullied at schools & having various issues on what I’m saying including my separated parents. So when I 1st read this book it actually shocked me to see what I read because what they said in this books actually reminds me of my worst childhood to my high school years I didn’t have that much friends as a kid. It even got me depressed for ‘trusting’ those who I never trust like teachers But I’m lucky enough to have some peeps from the game & book communities as my friends & families even though I haven’t met them yet This book is actually an amazing from other writers & I actually enjoyed this book A huge well done to all these writers & of course a huge well done to Carly Findlay for her collaboration with the writers & editing this book Growing Up Disabled In Australia is a must read

  17. 5 out of 5

    Eliza

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. There is something magical about a piece of work that you can connect to. I’m grateful that an anthology of wonderful disabled voices exists from an Australian lens. In Robin M. Eames submission titled “Et Liz (also, light)” they wrote something that I have struggled to articulate when explaining my journey with my own disability: “My disabilities may limit the length of my life but not its value or its fullness. All lives are marked by grief and joy in equal measure. Nobody loves without sufferi There is something magical about a piece of work that you can connect to. I’m grateful that an anthology of wonderful disabled voices exists from an Australian lens. In Robin M. Eames submission titled “Et Liz (also, light)” they wrote something that I have struggled to articulate when explaining my journey with my own disability: “My disabilities may limit the length of my life but not its value or its fullness. All lives are marked by grief and joy in equal measure. Nobody loves without suffering and nobody knows gladness without pain. My life is not unique for that, and no more tragic than anyone else’s (at worst a tragicomedy). There are forms of happiness availability to me that I would have never known about if I wasn’t disabled. And I am happier now than ever before. I am living deeply, and fiercely, and without reservation.” Highly recommended.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Maree Foster

    This collection of essays has been complied to include the backgrounds of a diverse group of people who have varies forms of disability. These essays focuses on the lived experiences of what it was like for the authors to grow up disabled in Australia. Thank you to all the contributors for sharing their journeys. A recommended read for everyone.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Suzie Bull

    Candid, raw, honest... these reflections on what it is like to live with a disability is a must read. There is a wide range of experiences and disabilities represented. Very well curated, edited and written/illustrated.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Haider

    A must read anthology for all Australians! A few typos peppered throughout, but these didn’t interfere with readability or enjoyability. I loved the diverse range of contributions from intersectional disabled communities.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Rowe

    I've decided that an anthology is a truly valuable tool to gain a broad insight into any issue, particularly when you have little knowledge of the issue. It can provide a wealth of reference in a way that a more focused text often misses. I've decided that an anthology is a truly valuable tool to gain a broad insight into any issue, particularly when you have little knowledge of the issue. It can provide a wealth of reference in a way that a more focused text often misses.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Melinda

    3.5 stars I always have mixed feelings about anthologies as I usually enjoy a handful of essays and feel quite neutral about the rest. I really appreciate this series and the stories being told, and look forward to reading more of the “Growing Up...” anthologies. I particularly loved Sarah Firth’s ‘Drawing My Way’, Noisy Silence by Anna Whately and Selected Epistles by Olivia Muscat.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Megs (paperback.whiplash)

    “You can’t be a lesbian and disabled. Why would you do that yourself?” “We are given so many societal narratives framing disability as fate worse than death. I understand my mother’s reasoning. She viewed disability as a terms of suffering and limitations. Because that was all she knew. She thought only of loss. To her, a wheelchair was a symbol of confinement rather than mobility and freedom. She had no other frame of reference, and neither did I.” Thoughts : Did you know one in five Australians “You can’t be a lesbian and disabled. Why would you do that yourself?” “We are given so many societal narratives framing disability as fate worse than death. I understand my mother’s reasoning. She viewed disability as a terms of suffering and limitations. Because that was all she knew. She thought only of loss. To her, a wheelchair was a symbol of confinement rather than mobility and freedom. She had no other frame of reference, and neither did I.” Thoughts : Did you know one in five Australians have a disability? Because I didn’t. I’ve now read 40 beautiful short pieces from such individuals. Whether if it’s a poem, interview extract, essay, collection of letters, diary entries or a brief glimpse into their life via a short story, I was truly moved with every word. I think I learnt some new things. Gained empathy and understanding I didn’t have going into this book. I think its a must read for any young adult.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Underground Writers

    This review was first published on the Underground Writers website: http://underground-writers.org/review... “I thought disability looked a certain way. And I didn’t fit that.” Growing Up Disabled in Australia, the fifth novel in the Growing Up series by Black Inc., is an eye-opening read to the stigma surrounding disability. This anthology is filled with prose and poems from a range of Australian authors who identify as a person with a disability. The publication of Growing Up Disabled in Austra This review was first published on the Underground Writers website: http://underground-writers.org/review... “I thought disability looked a certain way. And I didn’t fit that.” Growing Up Disabled in Australia, the fifth novel in the Growing Up series by Black Inc., is an eye-opening read to the stigma surrounding disability. This anthology is filled with prose and poems from a range of Australian authors who identify as a person with a disability. The publication of Growing Up Disabled in Australia notes (and signifies) the demand for a larger representation of people with disabilities in publishing. Editor Carly Findlay’s introduction draws from People with Disability in Australia’s definition of disability as: “the result of the interaction between people living with impairments and an environment filled with physical, attitudinal, communication and social barriers”. People with disabilities are expected to conform, to restrain themselves, and fit into society. The pressure to either hide or defend their disabilities is highlighted in the anthology. What shocked me from the start was Findlay’s note that several authors, due to the stigma surrounding disabilities, requested to be anonymous and use a pseudonym; however, despite these shared barriers, the contributing authors are hardly a homogenous group. Some prefer to keep their disability private, and others are identity-first users. What constitutes as a disability? This is not a question I have pondered until I started reading this anthology. In the book, disabilities range across chronic, neurodiverse, physical or cognitive impairments; the setting is equally broad with stories from the city to rural regions. Although each story is united by the identification of a disability, the approaches are various, ultimately working to allow readers to identify with the writers. This anthology not only raises awareness for readers without a disability but also allows readers with a disability to connect with a literary figure who has similar experiences or disabilities to themselves that they have not come across in literature before. One of the stories that stood out to me was “The Bedridden Astronaut” by Melanie Rees. Rees’s story immediately hooked me in (and not because of the amazing astronaut metaphors) when she eloquently described her realisation as a child that her dreams of becoming an astronaut would not happen because of her kidney failure. Her dreams “popped”; there was no shatter but rather a simple bubble pop of realisation. As Rees listened to the nurse and her mother discuss “what might have been”, she begins her journey of understanding the adjustments that will take place in her life. Although Rees won’t be able to travel to the moon, she ultimately realised that through writing she could travel to many planets. Rees’s disability did not shatter or ruin her dreams bur rather pointed her in another direction that allowed her to explore universes. Although Rees’s story was uplifting, not every story is comfortable to read. This book was designed to call out the stigma surrounding society’s (in particular Australia’s) treatment of people with disabilities. Some stories discuss the way people talk about their appearance/behaviour in front of them (shown in Andy Jackson’s and Fiona Murphy’s work), call them names (shown in Natalia Wikana’s story), or dismiss their feelings/symptoms (shown in El Gibbs’ story). Other stories—like Rees’s—explore self and the acceptance of a disability. As much as this book is a signal that Australian publishing needs a diverse cast of characters in books, it is also a callout to Australian society on its poor treatment of, and lack of assistance to, people with disabilities. I must note that each story is not an individual callout (there are many thank you notes within) but when I put down the book, I could not help but think that there is a bigger discussion that needs to take place. This is a book for those who want to self-reflect and learn. This is a collection that calls for change.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alison Mia

    This book is full of amazing stories and poetry told by people who have a disability, a population of people who have their voice in the spotlight all too rarely. The audiobook read by the awesome Carly Findlay is fantastic, though the physical copy would be an asset to any bookshelf. It worked out that I could read about a short story and a half on the drive to work, which was a blessing and also made me rethink putting mascara on in the morning. Many of these stories recount the abuse, bullyin This book is full of amazing stories and poetry told by people who have a disability, a population of people who have their voice in the spotlight all too rarely. The audiobook read by the awesome Carly Findlay is fantastic, though the physical copy would be an asset to any bookshelf. It worked out that I could read about a short story and a half on the drive to work, which was a blessing and also made me rethink putting mascara on in the morning. Many of these stories recount the abuse, bullying, discrimination, and ableism that many of these writers experienced through childhood. One that struck me in particular was a woman that realised her mother was taking advantage of her by pressuring her to have surgery so she could claim the rebate money. Some favourite stories include ‘Bird is the Word’, a story of sisters, ‘Dressing to Survive’, and a story about horse riding that made me laugh so hard while driving it was probably dangerous. This book gave me so many words about the medical model of disability VS the social model; how doctors learn about the so-called and mythical “ideal” body in medical school, and anything deviating needs to be fixed. Whereas the social model states that it is the environment that needs to change around the person, not the other way around. I’ve seen this so much in schools, them realising that they need to actually adjust both the physical space and the work that’s given for people with different abilities i.e. everyone. Ableism is everywhere still, and it’s so important to hear the voices of disabled people to fight it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Veronica Strachan

    As the mother of a child with a disability, I found this book challenging, enlightening, thought-provoking, saddening and hopeful. The social model of disability gave me an entirely new and satisfying framework to view the difficulties we faced in helping our daughter survive and thrive, a quarter of a century ago. I'm very appreciative of the courage, vulnerability and honesty provided by the authors in the collection of stories between the covers. Though many/most experienced degrees of discrim As the mother of a child with a disability, I found this book challenging, enlightening, thought-provoking, saddening and hopeful. The social model of disability gave me an entirely new and satisfying framework to view the difficulties we faced in helping our daughter survive and thrive, a quarter of a century ago. I'm very appreciative of the courage, vulnerability and honesty provided by the authors in the collection of stories between the covers. Though many/most experienced degrees of discrimination, many also shared the support and love of family, friends, carers and clinicians. All their lives are still in motion. My daughter would have been thirty-one this year, but died when she was 4. I'd like to think that if she'd been born today, our battles for acceptance and help from the medical profession may have been less combative and tempered with a better understanding and acceptance of disability as only one part of her, as well as a multidisciplinary team approach and an individual support plan for her specific needs. Though I fear we still have a long way to go. This book is compelling reading for anyone seeking a better understanding of the twenty percent of people in Australian who live with a disability. It's essential reading for anyone working in the health and disability sector. A great read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Natasha (jouljet)

    "It takes a lot to persist in a world in which you are told you don't belong, and disabled people have some of the most steely, steadfast instincts for survival that I've ever encountered. We must, if we are going to live in a world that doesn't want us. Do not interpret this as inspirational. If anything it should be a call to action against injustice" - Robin M. Eames. This is a remarkable book - a collection of #OwnVoices in Australia, documenting the experience of disability, the identity of "It takes a lot to persist in a world in which you are told you don't belong, and disabled people have some of the most steely, steadfast instincts for survival that I've ever encountered. We must, if we are going to live in a world that doesn't want us. Do not interpret this as inspirational. If anything it should be a call to action against injustice" - Robin M. Eames. This is a remarkable book - a collection of #OwnVoices in Australia, documenting the experience of disability, the identity of disability, and discussing so many truths, confronting and empowering, and as an ally, so many invaluable insights. The range of disability experiences, and the intersectionality, collected here in the 46 contributions is impressive. The range of form to the pieces speaks to the individuality of experience - from essay, interview, poem, to graphic story. The threads of commonality are the glaring mirror to society that needs to confront and address our ableism. Every health professional should read this. Hell, every Australian needs to read this. This collection makes change - a social justice, and representation force.

  28. 5 out of 5

    That one who reads

    WOW what a book! I needed a book like this exactly 10 years ago honestly this book would have definitely made my teenage years so much easier. Because it’s shows that there is a community, my emotions are valid, there are people out there like me in this world. This book has so many themes that I want to talk to someone about but I hope one day I find that person to talk. Because this book is so deep, it’s so relatable. I loved each of the stories, there were clear stand outs that just blew me a WOW what a book! I needed a book like this exactly 10 years ago honestly this book would have definitely made my teenage years so much easier. Because it’s shows that there is a community, my emotions are valid, there are people out there like me in this world. This book has so many themes that I want to talk to someone about but I hope one day I find that person to talk. Because this book is so deep, it’s so relatable. I loved each of the stories, there were clear stand outs that just blew me away. I’m so grateful that I have had the opportunity to read this book, to reflect, to stop and think. All I want to say is thank you to all the authors who contributed to this book, I needed this 10 years ago and I needed this now to some extent as well.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Desney King

    It took me a long time to read this book. Each story is unique and brilliantly written. I read them one at a time, leaving space between to absorb and reflect; to do my best to understand the writer and their life. Carly Findlay has done a masterful job of curating this collection of cameos, achieving balance in every way: the people, their disabilities, their attitudes and approach to life, and their writing style. I didn't grow up disabled; I was 60 when a stroke stripped away the self and the l It took me a long time to read this book. Each story is unique and brilliantly written. I read them one at a time, leaving space between to absorb and reflect; to do my best to understand the writer and their life. Carly Findlay has done a masterful job of curating this collection of cameos, achieving balance in every way: the people, their disabilities, their attitudes and approach to life, and their writing style. I didn't grow up disabled; I was 60 when a stroke stripped away the self and the life I'd known. But there is so much here that I can relate to. And so much that took me by surprise, shook me up, and gave me profound insights into the lives of others. Destined to become a classic. Bravo!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Em

    A wonderful anthology that's full of insights into the world of disability. I firmly believe everyone should read this book but I'd especially implore anyone working in healthcare, education or politics to pick it up. The best way to help disabled people is to listen to us and you can start by reading this book. My favourite pieces from the anthology were: Selected Epistles by Olivia Muscat Noisy Silence by Anna Whateley Don’t Have a Bird by Sandi Parsons A Polio Story by Fran Henke The Bedridden Ast A wonderful anthology that's full of insights into the world of disability. I firmly believe everyone should read this book but I'd especially implore anyone working in healthcare, education or politics to pick it up. The best way to help disabled people is to listen to us and you can start by reading this book. My favourite pieces from the anthology were: Selected Epistles by Olivia Muscat Noisy Silence by Anna Whateley Don’t Have a Bird by Sandi Parsons A Polio Story by Fran Henke The Bedridden Astronaut by Melanie Rees

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