My Body Politic
By Simi Linton
(University of Michigan Press, Hardcover, 9780472115396, 246pp.)
Publication Date: January 2006
List Price: $30.95*
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-Daniel Berrigan, S.J.
"The struggles, joys, and political awakening of a firecracker of a narrator. . . . Linton has succeeded in creating a life both rich and enviable. With her crackle, irreverence, and intelligence, it's clear that the author would never be willing to settle. . . . Wholly enjoyable."
"Linton is a passionate guide to a world many outsiders, and even insiders, find difficult to navigate. . . . In this volume, she recounts her personal odyssey, from flower child . . . to disability-rights/human rights activist."
"Witty, original, and political without being politically correct, introducing us to a cast of funny, brave, remarkable characters (including the professional dancer with one leg) who have changed the way that 'walkies' understand disability. By the time Linton tells you about the first time she was dancing in her wheelchair, you will feel like dancing, too."
---Carol Tavris, author of "Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion"
"This astonishing book has perfect pitch. It is filled with wit and passion. Linton shows us how she learned to 'absorb disability, ' and to pilot a new and interesting body. With verve and wonder, she discovers her body's pleasures, hungers, surprises, hurts, strengths, limits, and uses."
-Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, author of "Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature"
"An extraordinarily readable account of life in the fast lane... a brilliant autobiography and a great read."
-Sander L. Gilman, author of "Fat Boys: A Slim Book"
While hitchhiking from Boston to Washington, D.C., in 1971 to protest the war in Vietnam, Simi Linton was involved in a car accident that paralyzed her legs and took the lives of her young husband and her best friend. Her memoir begins with her struggle to regain physical and emotional strength and to resume her life in the world. Then Linton takes us on the road she traveled (with stops in Berkeley, Paris, Havana) and back to her home in Manhattan, as she learns what it means to be a disabled person in America.
Linton eventually completed a Ph.D., remarried, and began teaching at Hunter College. Along the way she became deeply committed to the disability rights movement and to the people she joined forces with. The stories in "My Body Politic" are populated with richly drawn portraits of Linton's disabled comrades, people of conviction and lusty exuberance who dance, play-and organize--with passion and commitment.
"My Body Politic" begins in the midst of the turmoil over Vietnam and concludes with a meditation on the U.S. involvement in the current war in Iraq and the war's wounded veterans. While a memoir of the author's gradual political awakening, "My Body Politic" is filled with adventure, celebration, and rock and roll-Salvador Dali, James Brown, and Jimi Hendrix all make cameo appearances. Linton weaves a tale that shows disability to be an ordinary part of the twists and turns of life and, simultaneously, a unique vantage point on the world.