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Waist-High in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled Paperback – December 22, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Nancy Mairs, though born by accident of war in Long Beach, California, grew up north of Boston. In 1964, she received the A.B. cum laude from Wheaton College (Norton, Massachusetts), which made her a Doctor of Humane Letters thirty years later. She earned the M.F.A. in creative writing (poetry) in 1975 and the Ph.D. in English literature (with a minor in English education) in 1984 from the University of Arizona. She has taught writing and literature at Salpointe Catholic High School, the University of Arizona, and the University of California at Los Angeles.
A poet and an essayist, she was awarded the 1984 Western States Book Award in poetry for In All the Rooms of the Yellow House (Confluence Press, 1984) and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1991. The Arizona Humanities Council gave her their 2008 Literary Treasure Award. Her first work of nonfiction, a collection of essays entitled Plaintext: Deciphering a Woman's Life, was published by the University of Arizona Press in 1986. Since then, she has written a memoir, Remembering the Bone House, a spiritual autobiography, Ordinary Time: Cycles in Marriage, Faith, and Renewal, and three more books of essays, Carnal Acts, Voice Lessons: On Becoming a (Woman) Writer, Waist-High in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled. These are available from Beacon Press, as are her most recent books, A Troubled Guest: Life and Death Stories, which was supported by a fellowship from the Project on Death in America of the Soros Foundation's Open Society Institute, and A Dynamic God.
She and her husband, George, a retired high-school English teacher, continue to live in Tucson, though they make public appearances throughout the country. A Research Associate and SIROW Scholar with the Southwest Institute for Research on Women, she has also served on the boards of the Arizona Center for Disability Law, Kore Press, the Coalition of Arizonans To Abolish the Death Penalty, and ARTability.
Top Customer Reviews
Beset with multiple sclerosis and bouts with clinical and situational depression, she offsets these stumbling blocks with joy, candor, eloquence, and cultural and political insights. It is a book for everybody, not just the disabled, for it challenges our fears, cultural hangups and citizenship: "The more perspectives that can be brought to bear on human experience, even from the slant of a wheelchair or a hospital bed, or through the ears of a blind person or the fingers of someone who is deaf, the richer that experience becomes." She attacks the stereotype that cripples must be passive and unfailingly polite in a culture that doesn't want to deal with them: "Beyond cheerfulness and patience, people don't expect much of a cripple's character."
Pondering her husband and caretaker George's battle with cancer, she offers a balanced look at suicide in the face of his death. Though she has attempted suicide "more than once," she questions the right-to-die movement, which extolls "rational" suicide: "Since hopelessness is a distinctive symptom of depression, which is an emotional disorder, actions carried out in a despairing state seem to me intrinsically irrational. This last time I clung to shreds of reason, which saved me." Still, she sees suicide as a possibility: "I want to be the one in charge of my life, including its end."
Why should society pay for the misfortunes of others? people ask.Read more ›
Wow. What a gift. Thank you, Nancy Mairs.
This book and "Ordinary Time" are my favorites by Mairs.
As we discussed this book in class, one of the girls ran out in tears, later coming back and disclosing that she, too, suffered from MS, making the book that much real and impressionable for me.
She advocates that through our government and as individuals we should take care of each other because that is what makes us human. The first chapter is difficult to stay with, but hang in there, it gets better as it goes along. In the end you will see that it was well worth your time and attention. It was interesting to me her view of England vs the U.S. She finds the English more accommodating and credits their having lived through a war on their own grounds. Eunice Boeve author of Ride a Shadowed Trail
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A fine read – of all the books I've read since being disabled, Nancy Mairs is by far the most intelligent and well spoken. Read morePublished 7 months ago by maryann p. hobbie
I've always been a fan of Mairs's clear-eyed view of herself and the world. I think I've read parts of this before. I hope she is still writing.Published 13 months ago by Nancy J. Myers
Nancy Mairs has given me a whole new perspective on living. My partner is disabled, though her limitation do not approach Nancy's in severity. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Harvey R.
this book makes you think. Challenges you to meet your thoughts on disabled persons. The author is a college professor who is confined to a wheel chair as a result of a chronic... Read morePublished on July 10, 2013 by Cherie C. Binns MSCN
One of the most widely read books on the experience of disability. The book is full of humor and wisdom.Published on January 23, 2013 by Sharon Collingwood
I am so glad this book was written by a person with a serious disability. I encounter military frequently who aren't disabled at all but retire with almost full disability pay. Read morePublished on July 16, 2012 by Honest shop
Having lived with MS for nearly 10 years and some of the disabling symptoms Ms. Mairs experiences I found her insights and perspective very helpful and enlightening. Read morePublished on November 12, 2009 by Kevin M. Orth
This is a beautifully written book and one from which I learned a lot! It actually changed my world view. I wish it were required reading for everyone. I'm so glad I read it.Published on August 20, 2009 by Ann