Elegy for A Disease

Elegy for A Disease

A Personal and Cultural History of Polio

Book - 2006
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Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2006.
ISBN: 9780312347574
031234757X
Characteristics: viii, 289 p. ;,24 cm.

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Liber_vermis
Dec 27, 2017

This autobiography will resonate with any reader who grew up in the late '50s and '60s. The author's life was affected not only by polio but also the mental trauma of a manic depressive, abusive father and an enabling mother. The author reveals the debilitating long-term mental and physical effects of polio. This autobiography would have been more personal if it had included some photos. The text has endnotes but many sources noted in the text are omitted from the endnotes. This book lacks an index and bibliography - both of which would have been helpful to readers. The author glosses over the immediate onset of polio as she didn't remember these details from age three so for a more complete life story of a polio I recommend "Black Bird Fly Away" by the late Hugh Gallagher.

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Liber_vermis
Dec 27, 2017

"... A 1990 survey of polio survivors revealed that a quarter of them had been diagnosed with clinical depression. ... nearly all people who had polio experienced traumatic separations from their families, along with the wounds - both physical and emotional - of subsequent surgeries, and the ongoing injury of finding themselves in severely constrained social roles. In addition the pressure ... to minimize the extent of their disability, to be cheerful overcomers, to fit themselves into the normal world, often resulted in a bifurcated self. Along with the self who was competent ... another, more shadowed self lived - sensitive to criticism, fearful of being unable to live up to ... expectations, and above all, lonely, for this was the part of ourselves we were supposed to keep well hidden." (p. 252)

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