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Patricia Horvath's transformation from a visibly disabled young woman to someone who, abruptly, "passes" for able-bodied, reveals cultural and personal tensions surrounding disability and creates an arc that connects imprisonment to freedom. What transpires is both suffocating and liberating. Horvath's confinement keeps her from being seen, but also cocoons a deeply personal sense of selfhood and relationship.
Horvath's lyric account of her experiences with severe scoliosis sings the connective tissue between her physical disability and her powerful interior. She is "poorly put together," her "body leans sharply to the left," she is "brittle-******, stoop-shouldered, with an "S" shaped spine," her words flame up spirited and true. Wry and breathtakingly poignant, this meditative, inspirational memoir delves into that most invisible, vital structure: identity, whose shaping and disfigurement makes all the difference in our lives.
This book will particularly appeal to people interested in disability studies, feminist issues, 1970s popular culture, fairy tales, and survival.
Patricia Horvath's stories and essays have been published widely in literary journals including Shenandoah, The Massachusetts Review, New Ohio Review, The Los Angeles Review, and Confrontation. She is the recipient of New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships in both fiction and literary nonfiction and of Bellevue Literary Review's Goldenberg Prize in Fiction for a story that was accorded a Pushcart Prize Special Mention. She teaches at Framingham State University in Massachusetts.