Such a pretty girl : a story of struggle, empowerment, and disability pride

by LaSpina, Nadina,

Format: Print Book 2019
Availability: Available at 5 Libraries 5 of 5 copies
Available (5)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Brookline Non-Fiction Collection HV1568.L37 2019
Location  CLP - Brookline
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  HV1568.L37 2019
CLP - Homewood Non-Fiction Collection HV1568.L37 2019
Location  CLP - Homewood
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  HV1568.L37 2019
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction HV1568.L37 2019
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  HV1568.L37 2019
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Non-Fiction 616.835 Las
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  616.835 Las
Northland Public Library Biography B LASPINA
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Biography
Call Number  B LASPINA

A memoir by a disability rights activist
Such a Pretty Girl is Nadina LaSpina's story--from her early years in her native Sicily, where still a baby she contracts polio, a fact that makes her the object of well-meaning pity and the target of messages of hopelessness; to her adolescence and youth in America, spent almost entirely in hospitals, where she is tortured in the quest for a cure and made to feel that her body no longer belongs to her; to her rebellion and her activism in the disability rights movement.
LaSpina's personal growth parallels the movement's political development--from coming together, organizing, and fighting against exclusion from public and social life, to the forging of a common identity, the blossoming of disability arts and culture, and the embracing of disability pride.
While unique, the author's journey is also one with which many disabled people can identify. It is the journey to find one's place in an ableist world--a world not made for disabled people, where disability is only seen in negative terms. La Spina refutes all stereotypical narratives of disability. Through the telling of her life's story, without editorializing, she shows the harm that the overwhelming focus on pity and on a cure that remains elusive has done to disabled people. Her story exposes the disability prejudice ingrained in our sociopolitical system and denounces the oppressive standards of normalcy in a society that devalues those who are different and denies them basic rights.
Written as continuous narrative and in a subtle and intimate voice, Such a Pretty Girl is a memoir as captivating as a novel. It is one of the few disability memoirs to focus on activism, and one of the first by an immigrant.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "In this insightful memoir, disability activist LaSpina effortlessly shares how her personal experiences led to her activism, creating a compelling story that is both instructive and moving. After contracting polio as a toddler in Sicily, LaSpina encountered constant pity: such a pretty girl, such a shame, such a waste. Hoping that American doctors could cure her, her family moved to Brooklyn when she was 12. Her teen years consisted of long hospital stays, invasive surgeries, extensive physical therapy, and treatment from medical personnel that ranged from supportive care to impersonal detachment to sexual molestation. The story continues through the turbulent 1960s, LaSpina's university years, and her increasing involvement in the burgeoning Disability Rights Movement. LaSpina unsparingly relates life-changing incidents that led to her growing self identity and resolution to become a full-time activist. Along the way, readers will encounter her successes and set-backs, both personal and political, and learn about the U.S. medical system and its treatment of individuals with disabilities. Readers will also find plenty of humor, happiness, camaraderie, and love. LaSpina spurns the term inspirational because she finds it patronizing. Despite her protestations, LaSpina's story of determination and hard-won independence is engaging, informative, and ultimately, inarguably, inspiring.--Kathleen McBroom Copyright 2019 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Additional Information
Subjects LaSpina, Nadina -- Health.
People with disabilities -- Biography.
People with disabilities -- Social conditions.
Publisher New York :2019
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description x, 338 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
ISBN 9781613320990
Other Classic View