With a PhD in creative nonfiction and disability studies and a lifetime of living in a body that is paralyzed from the waist down, Taussig manages to pack a whole lot of eye-opening, paradigm-shifting truth into one small, cheeky package here. The tone is conversational and gracious but unwavering. The stories are perfectly distilled, touching on representation, ableism, intersectional feminisim, healthcare costs and consequences, objectification, demoralizing and threatening kindnesses, accessibility, inclusion, and more. Highly recommended for anyone who lives in a body.
A memoir-in-essays from disability advocate and creator of the Instagram account @sitting_pretty Rebekah Taussig, processing a lifetime of memories to paint a beautiful, nuanced portrait of a body that looks and moves differently than most.
Growing up as a paralyzed girl during the 90s and early 2000s, Rebekah Taussig only saw disability depicted as something monstrous (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), inspirational (Helen Keller), or angelic (Forrest Gump). None of this felt right; and as she got older, she longed for more stories that allowed disability to be complex and ordinary, uncomfortable and fine, painful and fulfilling.
Writing about the rhythms and textures of what it means to live in a body that doesn’t fit, Rebekah reflects on everything from the complications of kindness and charity, living both independently and dependently, experiencing intimacy, and how the pervasiveness of ableism in our everyday media directly translates to everyday life.
Disability affects all of us, directly or indirectly, at one point or another. By exploring this truth in poignant and lyrical essays, Taussig illustrates the need for more stories and more voices to understand the diversity of humanity. Sitting Pretty challenges us as a society to be patient and vigilant, practical and imaginative, kind and relentless, as we set to work to write an entirely different story.
About the Author
REBEKAH TAUSSIG, PH.D. is a Kansas City writer and teacher with her doctorate in Creative Nonfiction and Disability Studies. She has led workshops and presentations at the University of Michigan, University of Kansas, and Davidson College on disability representation, identity, and community. She also runs the Instagram platform @sitting_pretty where she crafts “mini-memoirs” to contribute nuance to the collective narratives being told about disability in our culture. She lives with two cranky orange cats and one angsty-tender human.
"Rebekah writes in a way that is somehow both world-shakingly profound and beautifully intimate. Her voice is unforgettable in its power to make you feel, question, learn, and grow. There aren't words for how much the world needs this book." — Megan Jayne Crabbe, bestselling author of Body Positive Power
“A disability advocate debuts with a collection offering potent rejoinders to ableism…..A fierce and fabulous revision to entrenched ableist scripts.” — Kirkus Reviews [Starred Review]
"Sitting Pretty is the book I needed years ago as I grappled with my sense of self and my identity as a disabled woman. I put it down while reading only long enough to collect myself each time waves of emotion crashed over me. Rebekah's spunky, self-aware wit, combined with education that never feels didactic, make this book a worthwhile and rewarding read." — Emily Ladau, writer, speaker, and disability rights activist
"Rebekah Taussig's writing is a gift that keeps giving. Her voice is honest, vulnerable and welcoming...It was a joy to read and listen to Rebekah's words. This beautiful book helped me ask questions, open my heart, and remind me to look more closely at the world around me and what small part we can all have in making it a better, more accessible one." — Grace Bonney, founder of Design*Sponge and author of In the Company of Women
"A compelling personal book whose confidential voice leads the reader into the author’s vividly lived world of disability. Smart and funny, [Sitting Pretty] does double duty revealing not only the intimate life of a disabled woman but the flaws of the world around her that seeks to repress and contain her." — Lennard J. Davis, Distinguished Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of Enforcing Normalcy and My Sense of Silence: Memoirs of a Childhood with Deafness
“An invaluable, eye-opening look at disability from a firsthand perspective.” — Booklist
“Her smart and witty observations about living with disabilities will be enlightening and eye-opening for readers.” — Publishers Weekly
“Reflecting on her journey toward disability advocacy, Rebekah Taussig's memoir in essays will make you rethink everything you've previously believed about disabled people and their lives. Reflecting on Taussig's personal experiences, and on disability representation more broadly, Sitting Pretty is a rare book from a powerful, new voice.” — Bustle
"A groundbreaking and candid memoir" — Shelf Awareness
“Taussig’s narrative style is highly conversational, making it feel like one is chatting with a lifelong friend. Her ability to bring levity to a topic some may find taboo is certain to help spread her message of acceptance and love.”