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April 15, 1983

Ordinary Lives: Voices of Disability and Disease

Author Affiliations

Ohio State University Hospitals Columbus

JAMA. 1983;249(15):2095. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330390087047

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This 225-page hardcover book is a compilation of 17 selections—essays, poems, and chapters—by 11 different authors, each with a disability. The editor was disabled with polio, and other contributors include individuals with cerebral palsy, visual handicap, hearing deficit, heart attack, stroke, and mastectomy.

The book is a convenient source of writings from the perspective of someone who has had an impairment. If the purpose of the book is simply to interest readers in books by the disabled, it has merit; however, it seemed to me a contrived attempt to present a valid exposition of the disabled clichés. After struggling through the potpourri, I felt like a person being force-fed a meal selected from a buffet by someone with different tastes.

Having previously read the book by Eric Hodgkin, Episode in My Skull, I considered the chapter selected to be representative of the book. I also enjoyed the selection by the

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