Growing Up with a Disability in AmericaCass Irvin
"When I was growing up, I learned that if you were a girl you went to school and college, then you married, became a wife and had a family. . . . When I became disabled, my journey, I was pretty sure, was not going to take me in those directions. What was I supposed to be? What kind of life was I supposed to have?"
Once polio had made her a quadriplegic, Cass Irvin didn't know where she fit in or what would become of her. Neither did her parents, teachers, counselors, or rehabilitation therapists. And so began her search for a place to call home.
In this memoir, Cass Irvin tells of the remarkable journey that transformed her from a young girl too timid to ask for help to a community activist and writer who speaks forcefully about the needs of people with disabilities. As a young girl she was taken to Warm Springs, Georgia, where she learned about living as a disabled person and found a hero in Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the famously if silently disabled president. Bright and inquisitive, Cass soon began to question the prevailing assumptions of a society that had no place for her and to question her own meekness.
In time, her keen sense of injustice gave her the courage to fight for a college education. That personal victory emboldened her to find the means to live independently, but it also persuaded her that political work is the key to enabling all people with disabilities to live fulfilling lives. This book, then, is testimony to the importance of community building and organizing as well as the story of one woman's struggle for independence.
"Home Bound is a very important book. It's greatest strength is the political message that it delivers about disability. Breaking out of the familiar genres of disability books such as history, autobiography, inspirational, or catastrophe narratives, Irvin's book sets out a rhetoric of protest and consciousness-raising that mobilizes elements from more conventional disability books to create a fresh discourse of disability from inside the movement. She clearly and convincingly lays out the arguments for seeing disability as a sociopolitical issue, for recognizing its connections to the civil rights and women's movements, for disability pride, and for building community and a politicized consciousness. No other book that I know of attempts what this ambitious volume does." —Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, author of Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Literature and Culture
"...more than a life story, (it) is also a meditation on the experience of disability in America....It is not the remarkable life of the author that sets this book apart, it is the unembellished way that she writes about it." —Disabilities Studies Quarterly
"...a fascinating description of growing up with a disability." —Review of Disability Studies
"Irvin (is) a gifted writer...She illumines family life, relationships, combat stories of advocacy and narratives of the lives of other folks affected by the disability advocacy movement. In Cass Irvin’s resolute pursuit of a meaningful and independent life - despite the countervailing forces that abound in American culture - she gives us humor, realism and abiding hope. Read this book. Please." —Hart County News-Herald
"Irvin's book is destined to become a classic in disability studies, disability history and disability policy. Written with eloquence and humor, it provides convincing examples of the key concepts of the disability rights movement.... While this book reads like an autobiography or a novel, it is a book to be revisited many times." —Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0CYZ/is_2_32/ai_n14711319