Book Review || Disfigured by Amanda Leduc

Tuesday, June 1, 2021


On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space
Amanda Leduc
3rd March 2020

Okay, I'm a bit late to the party on this one (like many of my reviews of late...), but I think I partially avoided this one for a while because I was nervous. 'Disabled' as a label that I lay claim to, if perhaps a little delicately - not sure if I'm allowed to hold it, have it as my own. I've been chronically ill for 20 years now, and have had chronic pain on and off throughout most of that time, but it's been hard - as I know it has been for many other people - to acknowledge and truly feel like I can accept the label of 'disabled'. Much like other people, I often feel as if the term disabled is only used for people in wheelchairs, and even though I have used a wheelchair after surgeries in the past, and have had to really consider whether that might be a regular part of my future, I haven't really been a part of that definition - even when I was actively using a Disability Support Plan at University. Some days now, I feel like a proud disabled person, other days I just feel fearful that I'm doing something wrong by claiming that label. It's a work in progress, as much of life is.

Anyway, onto the book.

Disfigured can occasionally come across as a little bit of a jumble of things - memoir, deep dives on particular fairy tales, discussions on Disney movies - all shoved into one relatively-tiny book. And, whilst I have seen a few other people complaining about how it isn't 'academic enough' or even 'pseudo-academic' (didn't know that was a thing! Learning.), I loved the exploration of this book, and how it led me through a forest of Amanda Leduc's thoughts, musings, past experiences, and research. 

Perhaps because I have always loved nature writing with a touch of memoir, I was able to just slip into this one quite easily - explorations with a touch of memoir, something of a personal essay tied together with sparkle fairy lights and barbed wire. It felt a lot like sitting down to a cup of tea with Amanda and just listening as she thought through things, and I loved that.

There are definitely some challenging things here, and I think for anyone who hasn't really thought about the ableism inherent on things like fairy tales, Disney movies, or perhaps just everyday life, it might be quite confronting. I recently had someone ask me what ableism was, and I stumbled through an approximation of an answer (never mind that I actually didn't owe them anything, my anxiety never remembers that people can just google stuff). Now I wish I could just hand them a card with google search terms on it, along with a copy of this book. Because this book did make me feel seen, it made me feel like things I had thought about and the issues in certain stories that I had noticed but not said anything about were valid and real. And it took me on a journey that I think I will return to regularly in the future whenever my own ingrained ableism starts to act up again (vicious little thing).

This has been a very random and roundabout review, but I hope it comes across that I loved this book. I may check out Amanda Leduc's fiction next. Highly recommend her work.

10/10 houses made of gingerbread (allergy friendly).

I received a review ecopy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own.

0 whisperings:

Post a Comment

All content owned by Bethwyn Walker unless otherwise stated. Powered by Blogger.

books | chronic illness | lifestyle | wellbeing

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top