- Paperback: 212 pages
- Publisher: Beacon Press; New edition edition (December 22, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0807070874
- ISBN-13: 978-0807070871
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #731,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Waist-High in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled Paperback – December 22, 1997
Frequently Bought Together
Nancy Mairs, a gifted essayist who is fierce and funny by turns, landed in a wheelchair years ago due to degenerative multiple sclerosis that has sapped much of her strength. She bends an agile mind and sharp tongue around the daily tasks of seeing eye-to-navel with a world that clearly prefers nondisabled "normals." One candid, pained essay tells of longing to give care, not just accept it. Others describe the shifting line in the sands marking limits she could live with; teeth-grinding frustration at foolish building practices that keep even public bathrooms out of her reach; and a discomforting adventure as an undercover agent exposing a drug fraud aimed at people with diseases like MS. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Mairs (Ordinary Time) is a writer of heightened sensibility not entirely attributable to the years she has spent wheelchair-bound because of advancing multiple sclerosis. From her viewpoint, approximately at the level of other people's navels, she constructs here "a Baedeker for a country to which no one travels willingly," the story of a life shaped by severe physical disability. In this collection of ruminative, exploratory essays, there is also earthy humor as Mairs addresses issues that range from physical intimacy and a spouse's health problems to concerns with public facilities and her advocacy achievements. The author, a vibrant, well-traveled poet, teacher and mother, takes readers inside a world that at times seem not to want her. Although Mairs disavows the inspirational thrust of her essays, they are perforce filled with insights that will be helpful to a large population, especially women. Author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
i like the author's wry attitude and way of writing. I like her observations and I can relate to her experiences. She is agood writer too.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
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 22 months ago by Nancy J. Myers
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
Nancy Mairs writes of her life from a wheelchair and gives voice to the disabled. Afflicted with multiple sclerosis, she has also battled depression, but still finds joy in life. Read morePublished on October 23, 2010 by E. B.
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