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May 2, 1986

Despite This Flesh: The Disabled in Stories and Poems

JAMA. 1986;255(17):2363. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370170127047

Any collection of literary works written by the disabled always seems to be accompanied by a built-in sense of guilt on the part of the reader, leading to easy acceptance. The reader may feel that he should praise the efforts of those "less fortunate" than he.

It would be a grave injustice to judge this book on that basis. Ms Miller states in her introduction, "I have done my best to include in it only material of high literary excellence." She certainly has accomplished her goal.

Ms Miller has gathered together works of prose and poetry that are both unique and poignant. They are unique in that the reader will find them both enjoyable and thought provoking, and they are poignant because they will deeply affect the reader.

The effect of a disability of a young family member and the subsequent family interactions can perhaps be better understood by reading