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Such a Pretty Girl: A Story of Struggle, Empowerment, and Disability Pride

by Nadina LaSpina New Village Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 352 pages
AU$43.99 NZ$46.08
Product Status: In Stock Now
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A memoir by a disability rights activist and her journey toward freedom
In her autobiography Such a Pretty Girl, disability rights activist Nadina LaSpina refutes the inspirational narrative of “overcoming” disability put forth by mainstream, ableist society, and demonstrates through her life story that help for the disabled comes not through the pity of others, nor through the medical establishment’s promises for a cure, but through the self-organizing of the disabled and their demands for an end to exclusion from public and social life. Through the force of her personal narrative story, the author shows that the lives of people living with disabilities do not have to revolve about becoming “cured” or “normal”, and that these concepts are impositions by a society that demands that its members are able-bodied and denies them basic rights if they are not.
Narrated in a subtle and intimate voice, the author describes her journey: from her childhood in Sicily, where she is told to expect nothing but suffering from life, to her adolescence and youth in America spent in hospitals, and finally, towards activism and to fighting in the streets for recognition. For the so-called “abled,” it can be difficult to understand the needs of the disabled if the latter are treated only as those who are naturally lacking something. Only through the empowerment of the people living with disabilities can majority society understand what they really need, and what they demand, access to public spaces and an end to exclusion, as the ADAPT motto says: “Free Our People.”
Such a Pretty Girl is one of the few continuous disability narratives that focus on activism and the struggle for rights. It will be one of the first disability memoirs written by an immigrant published in the United States.
"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. ... 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. ... LaSpina's story of determination and hard-won independence is engaging, informative, and ultimately, inarguably, inspiring."
Nadina LaSpina is an activist for disability rights and social justice, an organizer for ADAPT, and the Disability Caucus of Occupy Wall Street, and the creator of the Disability Cultures curriculum at The New School. She has been arrested countless times for civil disobedience. Nadina was born in Sicily,and emigrated with her family to the United Sates when she was twelve. She lives in New York City.