Finished The Pretty One by Keah Brown. I received a copy for review. Isn’t the cover fabulous? I love it.
Summary (from Goodreads):
“From the disability rights advocate and creator of the #DisabledAndCute viral campaign, a thoughtful, inspiring, and charming collection of essays exploring what it means to be black and disabled in a mostly able-bodied white America.
Keah Brown loves herself, but that hadn’t always been the case. Born with cerebral palsy, her greatest desire used to be normalcy and refuge from the steady stream of self-hate society strengthened inside her. But after years of introspection and reaching out to others in her community, she has reclaimed herself and changed her perspective.
In The Pretty One, Brown gives a contemporary and relatable voice to the disabled—so often portrayed as mute, weak, or isolated. With clear, fresh, and light-hearted prose, these essays explore everything from her relationship with her able-bodied identical twin (called “the pretty one” by friends) to navigating romance; her deep affinity for all things pop culture—and her disappointment with the media’s distorted view of disability; and her declaration of self-love with the viral hashtag #DisabledAndCute.
By “smashing stigmas, empowering her community, and celebrating herself” (Teen Vogue), Brown and The Pretty One aims to expand the conversation about disability and inspire self-love for people of all backgrounds.”
I initially accepted the pitch for this because I am obsessed with all things pop culture and because this is a voice that I don’t really hear that often. (I read books about and by Black authors, but I don’t know off the top of my head how many books by disabled authors I’ve read. Which means I don’t read enough of them. I would like recommendations.)
I’m so glad I did. Keah Brown and I have a lot of pop culture in common and I got almost all of her references. I had that sort of giddy “ME TOO!” reaction so many times in this book and it felt like I was making a new best friend.
But that’s not the real value here (although definitely come for the pop culture references, because they are perfection). Instead, it’s in her candid discussions about how it feels to be disabled (her words) in a world that not only is clearly not meant for you but which seems to purposely ignore you (and best) and grind you down every chance it gets. The act of loving yourself and being kind to yourself becomes an actual revolutionary act, one of the bravest things you can do.
I loved this book so much and I hope this is the start of a long writing career. Keah Brown is my new favorite. Highly recommended.