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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Waist-High in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled
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on June 21, 2014
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. But her perspective, living, loving, thriving in a world that is alternately indifferent and hostile to your plight is eye opening and refreshing. Thank you Nancy.
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on June 24, 2015
A fine read – of all the books I've read since being disabled, Nancy Mairs is by far the most intelligent and well spoken. Perhaps that's not fair to put authors in competition with each other, but she is now my favorite. A must read… I have ordered one of her other books already. Thank you for your service this Mairs, and keep on writing!
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on February 5, 2009
I never had the 29 years of abled bodiness the author speaks about before she contacted MS - I've been severly crippled for five plus decades......she writes a good book, but again like most highly educated authors, people found in the in the communications arts, she overwhelms us with "dictionary words."

Dear author, in your next book, or a revised edition of this book, please allow us to put our thesaurus' away. Common literates would get more out of your books if you wrote without the imposing words.

I've accused other authors, who it is obvious, to have written like they wish to impress their peers at the university level. But you need not impress anyone but yourself, because your teaching the handicapped along with the "ables" that our world has meaning and purpose, is impressive enough.

Pardon my grammatical errors.........but it takes me a long time to type........and so I normally say forget it to rewriting.

The book is well worth the money.
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on July 23, 2016
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.
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on July 10, 2013
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 progressive neurologic illness. Makes you think.
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on December 18, 2014
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.
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on January 23, 2013
One of the most widely read books on the experience of disability. The book is full of humor and wisdom.
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on October 14, 2014
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on October 23, 2010
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. The book gives one insights into the world of the disabled and the challenges they face. In our culture where little is expected of the disabled and where they are often ignored, she calls herself a cripple and speaks out against passiveness in the handicapped. She examines the right-to-die for those for whom live/pain has become unbearable and draws the conclusions that she, the type who needs to be in charge,wants to continue to do so at the end of her life. Her husband, George, a cancer survivor, is her caregiver and a blessed one at that.
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
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on March 10, 2001
Reviewer: robert dorroh from Sonora, CA United States Nancy Mairs, with devastating honesty, chronicles life as a cripple (her choice of word) in poignant essays in "Waist High in the World."
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. Because it's what human beings do: take care of one another, Mairs says, adding that it's the government's role to ensure that its citizens are entitled to the pursuit of happiness. Mairs notes that the abled-bodied should aim to preserve the dignity of the disabled. This takes in seeing them as sexual beings: ... "The general assumption, even among those who might be expected to know better, is that people with disabilities are out of the sexual running."
As a paraplegic, I admire her advocacy on my behalf. I admire her more, however, for her willingness to work toward the betterment of our society through a rare and gifted intelligence.
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